There are over 180 windows in the main quadrangle of the house. This means there is a lot of glass and woodwork to maintain! The windows on the south and west fronts need the most attention because they are more vulnerable to the weather. With proper care, the windows should last forever.

The sliding windows on the house date from the 1960s. They were made at Chatsworth, in the joinery shop, from oak grown on the estate. Every year our house team remove and restore as many windows as possible.  

The windows hang on sash chains with lead sash weights and weigh 72.5 kg each. It takes at least three people to lift them. After removing the window a temporary replacement is installed. From the outside, it is hard to tell that a repair job is taking place.

Most of the repair work is to the bottom rail. Any rotten wood is removed and new oak pieces are spliced back in. Linseed oil glazing putty is carefully replaced and the bare wood is given five coats of paint. 

The finishing touch – and what you might notice the most when admiring the house from the surrounding garden or parkland – is the application of gold leaf to the frames.

Gold leaf is gold that has been hammered into thin sheets. Purchased in small books, the cost is determined by the price of gold. It is fixed to the painted surface with glue called gold size.

The gold is decorative and functional; it provides the ‘bling’ but also gives the best weather protection there is.

The Chatsworth House Trust (registered charity 511149) is dedicated to looking after the house, collections, garden, parkland and woodlands for the benefit of everyone.

All income from ticket sales, Gift Aid, our Chatsworth Friends and Patrons programmes, partners, sponsors and funders goes directly to the charity and is reinvested in the upkeep, preservation and improvement of Chatsworth, our learning programme and essential conservation work, such as the repair of the windows in Chatsworth House.

Find out more about the Chatsworth House Trust through the links below. 

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