Copyright © 2007 Elizabeth Jean
|Chatsworth House is located in the heart of the
Peak District National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the
center of England. The house is the home of the Duke and Duchess of
Devonshire, and the 1000 acre estate includes a working farm and more than
100 acres of landscaped gardens.
The house itself is more than five centuries old and houses one of the finest private collections of art in Europe, including works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Gainsborough, as well as more modern work, tapestries, sculpture and period furnishings.
Visitors are able to walk around sections of the house, and themed exhibitions are regularly staged throughout the year.
The gardens of Chatsworth are no less impressive; the culmination of hundreds of years of expert landscaping, they offer a beautiful environment in which to escape from modern life and relax.
The ‘Palace of the Peak’ is a family home which was built to be shared with visitors. You are invited to walk at your own pace through the house, absorbing the atmosphere of its beautiful rooms and the story that they tell of the family's history over the last 450 years. Our new audio tour for children and adults and our friendly room guides help bring the house to life, Also new this year, introductory tours, available on many days throughout the season.
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|The Power of Gravity
Chatsworth's gardens are well-known for their waterworks, but what is perhaps less well-known is that they are completely gravity-fed from a number of man-made lakes high on the hillside, 400 feet above the house. These lakes are fed by the myriad of streams that run through the Derbyshire moors.
Not only are all the water features gravity-fed, but the water feed from the lakes is also used to power a turbine that generates much of the electricity required by Chatsworth House, making this old house a thoroughly modern example of sustainable development. Similar styled fountains for your own garden can be found at http://www.garden-fountains.com .
There are four main fountains at Chatsworth, each with its own unique and memorable characteristics.
The Emperor Fountain
The Emperor Fountain was built for an imperial visitor and is truly on a royal scale. Its single jet can rise to over 290 feet, and can be seen from the house itself.
Joseph Paxton was the head gardener at Chatsworth for more than 30 years, and he created the Emperor Fountain in 1843, in anticipation of a visit from Tsar Nicholas of Russia. Although the visit never happened, the fountain provides the tallest jet of water in the UK - all the more remarkable for being completely gravity-fed, and more than 150 years old!
The Cascade forms a spectacular centerpiece to the gardens at the rear of Chatsworth House. A series of twenty-four irregularly-spaced stone steps, it stretches down the hillside for 200 yards towards the house.
The Cascade too is completely gravity-fed, and is based on a 17th century French design. This water fountain was installed for the first Duke of Devonshire in 1696, and has remained, unchanged, ever since.
At the top of the Cascade stands the Cascade House, from which water flows for the Cascade. The house is a small building, decorated on the outside with sea creatures in bas-relief. On special occasions, water pressure to the Cascade can be increased, causing the Cascade House to become part of the Cascade spectacle, as water flows through conduits on its roof and from the mouths of its carved sea creatures, before continuing down the Cascade
The slight difference in size of each step means that the sound of the water falling varies as it descends down the Cascades, providing a wonderful and soothing accompaniment to a walk through the gardens.
|Willow Tree Fountain
Sometimes referred to as the "Trick Tree", or "Squirting Tree", the Willow Tree fountain has been a feature of the garden for over 300 years, and makes a delightful surprise, hidden as it is amongst real Willow Trees.
The fountain has its own "leaves" and "branches", from which water sprays in all directions. Its age makes it all the more remarkable - many of today's fountains are not as innovative or imaginative as this fountain.
The newest addition to the fountains of Chatsworth is named "Revelation", and was designed by well-known British sculptor Angela Conner. Known for her work in brass and steel, in 2004/5 she was commissioned by the late 11th Duke of Devonshire to produce a limited edition bust of Queen Elizabeth, in commemoration of the Queen's 80th birthday.
Revelation was installed in Jack Pond, one of Chatsworth's oldest ponds, in 1999. Made from steel, it takes the form of four large petals which open and close with the flow of water, alternately concealing and revealing a golden globe at the centre of the sculpture.
The globe was made from steel before being painted with gold dust and the whole sculpture stands five meters high and five meters wide. The movement of the petals is completely driven by water, and this newest fountain is an intriguing and unusual addition to the gardens of Chatsworth.
Behind the Scenes
We've already seen how all of Chatsworth's fountains are gravity-fed from the hillside lakes above the estate, but what is rarely seen by visitors is the underground network of streams and conduits that not only feed the fountains of Chatsworth, but also enable irrigation of the extensive gardens and greenhouses of the estate - a truly remarkable piece of integrated planning and engineering.
About The Author: Written by Elizabeth Jean for http://www.Garden-Fountains.com Follow our link for more information on the Fountains at Chatsworth
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