Kedleston Hall – a masterpiece that lasts all year

Kedleston Hall is yet another of our local stately homes that gets dressed up for Christmas, so one morning a couple of weeks ago we decided to check out its latest festive makeover. Poor Kedleston, Derbyshire’s forgotten treasure, is forever in the shadow of the local legend that is Chatsworth House. However, in my view anyway, the place is a seriously under-appreciated masterpiece that’s worth visiting at any time of the year, not just at Christmas.

Chatsworth, ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire, has a national profile and is beloved by locals and tourists alike. And very fine it is too, if bling is your thing. I like Chatsworth well enough, of course, but if given the choice I’d prefer to potter around Kedleston any day.

The Marble Hall

Kedleston Hall is an 18th century Palladian and Neoclassical wonder. To build it, local bigwig landowner Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Scarsdale (1726-1804) flattened an entire village of the same name, thus ensuring that he wouldn’t have to endure unwanted encounters with the local peasantry while wandering his estate.

The Drawing Room

Behaviour like this was typical of men of his ilk at the time, and from a 21st century perspective is totally inexcusable. The only mitigation one might offer is that Curzon built a damned fine house on the land he so rapaciously reclaimed from his tenants, though I doubt that this was much of a comfort at the time to the poor people he made homeless.

The Library

Although the Curzon family still lives in part of the Hall, the property and surrounding parkland is now owned on behalf of the nation by the National Trust. Here’s what the Trust’s website has to say about Kedleston:

“Kedleston Hall is an extravagant temple to the arts designed by the architect Robert Adam…The house is framed by historic parkland and boasts opulent interiors intended to impress. Designed for lavish entertaining, Kedleston Hall displays an extensive collection of paintings, sculpture and original furnishings, reflecting both the tastes of its creators and their fascination with the classical world of the Roman Empire.”

Source: National Trust website, retrieved 13 December 2022

Neo-classicism may not be to everyone’s taste, but it works for me, The elegance and sheer beauty of Robert Adam’s work is breath-taking, and while I was looking forward to a bit of Christmas cheer at Kedleston I was concerned that it might detract from the majesty of the Hall’s state rooms. But I need not have worried: the Christmas decorations were tastefully restrained, and the Adam’s interiors remained the stars of the show.

The Saloon

Entrance to the mansion is via the grand Marble Hall. With walls boasting multiple niches that display statues in the classical Roman style, and lined by 20 soaring, fluted alabaster columns topped with elaborate Corinthian capitals, the Marble Hall is clearly a statement piece. It is designed to overawe visitors, to advise them that they have entered the home of someone richer, more cultured, and more powerful than they can ever hope to be. Know your place! it proclaims.

The Music Room

Equally impressive is the Saloon, a circular room rising 62 feet (19m) to a grand glass skylight. It was designed as a sculpture gallery, the style being based on the temples of a Roman Forum. The modest Christmas tree at its centre did little to distract our attention the sheer elegance of the room’s design.

Clockwise from Top left: The Library. Top right: Ante Room / Dressing Room. Bottom Right: The Saloon. Bottom Left: View through Ante Room / Dressing Room to the Christmas tree in the Saloon. Middle (bottom): The Dining Room. Middle (top): The Family Room

The other state rooms, including the Library, Drawing Room and the Dining Room, are equally impressive. And that’s the point. This place was built to impress, and it does just that. More than Chatsworth House, and more than just about every other stately home I’ve ever visited, it positively exudes the wow factor. I love Kedleston Hall just as much as I’m sure I would have disliked Nathaniel Curzon, the guy who commissioned this spectacular mansion…anyone with an ego that big must have been seriously bad news!



  1. Thistles and Kiwis · December 21

    I love these tours of places I probably will never get to now. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · December 21

      And thank you, also, for reading and offering positive feedback. I’m sure I will be visiting, and sharing via this blog, several similar stately house gems next year!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The architecture and interior design is one thing, but the paintings on the wall is next level. Not one framed jigsaw puzzle or football poster😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, Another Blogger · December 21

    Hi. The Saloon is the room I like best. Great skylight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · December 21

      Yes, it’s spectacular, and the photos don’t even do it justice. There are four doors leading off a circular room, at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock, and the whole thing is perfectly symmetrical and flooded with natural light from that skylight. Stunning!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paddy Tobin · December 21

    A fabulously beautiful house; well worth the visit and, certainly, more appealing than Chatsworth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · December 22

      We are privileged to live so close (just 20 minutes away) from such a remarkable building. Derbyshire boasts a number of famous, historic mansions, but for me Kedleston is by far the best of the bunch.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jmankowsky · December 21

    Beautiful! Paint me “Jealous in New England” . 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tanjabrittonwriter · December 21

    While the Marble Hall and Saloon make one gaze with wonder, I wonder if anybody would object to my sitting on that sofa in the library with a stack of books from the shelves. I’m sure it would be easy to while away hours (or days, or years) in that happy pursuit. 📚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. June’s Travels · December 21

    Incredible beautiful! Natural daylight through the ceiling in the Saloon, library, fine furniture and paintings, the blue color wall……remarkable!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · December 22

      Yes, it’s a very special place. The man who designed it all those centuries ago – Robert Adam – was a genius!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ju-Lyn · December 23

    Christmas dressed stately homes – such fun! Thank you for letting us have a peek into this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · December 24

      We’re already starting to plan visits to more stately homes at Christmas 2023…so watch this space 12 months from now!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Carol Ann Siciliano · December 28

    What a spectacular place! And I am incredulous to realize that Kedleston Hall is “yet another of our local stately homes.” What??!! Derbyshire must indeed be a remarkable place.

    I continue to be grateful for your exploration, your insights, your commentary and Mrs. P’s photos. I am so happy for both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · December 29

      No lesser authority than Jane Austen once wrote “There is not a finer county in England than Derbyshire!” Who am I to argue?


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