Chatsworth has evolved greatly since the creation of the first house by Bess of Hardwick and Sir William Cavendish around 1552.
Sixteen generations of the Cavendish family have each made their mark on Chatsworth, either through improvements to the house, garden, and wider estate or through the commission and acquisition of art, sculpture, ceramics, literature, jewellery, antiquities, and much more.
Meet some of the individuals who helped them achieve their ambitions, or whose knowledge, talent, and creativity were a source of inspiration and admiration.
Return to the History of Chatsworth
Sarah Paxton (c.1800-1871)
Sarah Paxton was the wife of Joseph and an unsung hero of the male-dominated 19th century, taking on her husband's many responsibilities at Chatsworth whenever he was absent.
Eugénie Sellers Strong (1860-1943)
Eugénie Sellers Strong was a British archaeologist, author, and art historian. She was also the librarian at Chatsworth from 1904-1909, an unusual role for a woman at the time. It's thanks to Eugénie that the Hardwick Manuscripts have been preserved and made accessible for research, as this blog post explains.
Dorothy Boyle (née Savile), Countess of Burlington (1699-1758)
Mother to Duchess Charlotte and wife to Richard Burlington, known as 'the Architect Earl', Dorothy Boyle was also an accomplished and respected amateur painter, caricaturist, and draughtswoman.
Joseph Paxton (1803-1865)
Joseph Paxton was a horticulturist, architect, engineer, and MP who was Head Gardener at Chatsworth under the 6th Duke. The Emperor Fountain, Pinetum, Rock Garden, and the Great Conservatory are just a few of his many achievements at Chatsworth.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Thomas Hobbes was one of the great political thinkers and philosophers of modern history. He was tutor, friend, and influencer to the 2nd and 3rd Earl of Devonshire and enjoyed a life-long friendship with the Cavendish family.
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-1783)
Lancelot Brown was appointed early on in his career by the 4th Duke to make radical changes to the landscape around Chatsworth House. Read more about his impact on Chatsworth here.
James Paine (1717-1789)
James Paine was a successful architect in the 18th Century and is responsible for the Stables, Paine's Mill, and the three-arch bridge visitors cross when they enter the estate.