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. Looking out through the huge windows, with their gilded frames, there are views of the famous park and the garden with its waterworks.
The house contains one of Europe’s finest private art collections, representing 4000 years of European culture and craftsmanship, from ancient Greece to modern work by British artists. These treasures are seen in magnifcent rooms on all three floors of the house, from the grandeur of the 1st Duke’s Painted Hall and State Apartments with their rich decoration and painted ceilings, to the 19th century Library, Great Dining Room and Sculpture Gallery. Wardens in the rooms can answer your questions, and there are beautiful guidebooks and an audio guide available.
Throughout the house, there are magnifcent displays of paintings, furniture, silver, tapestries and porcelain and a gallery of neo-classical sculptures. Famous curiosities include four royal thrones, a giant ancient Greek marble foot, a lace cravat carved from wood, the fan of a Rolls Royce jet engine and the unique illusionistic painting of a violin hanging on a door. This year’s special exhibition, open on most days, celebrates the centenary of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire’s sister, the writer Nancy Mitford.