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Home > New Search > Kedleston Hall

Kedleston Hall  England 
Near Derby, Derbyshire, England

Started 1759
Completed 1765

Status: Fully Extant

Special Info / Location/ Date

Special Info
Phonetic Pronunciation of House Name

District Today
 Historic County
 City / Town / Village
Near Derby

Start Date
Completion Date
Circa Date

Engraving of the South Façade from Neale's Views of the Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, 1818

Click on thumbnail for a larger view

Engraving of the South Façade from Neale's Views of the Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, 1818
The North Façade
The South Façade
The Marble Hall
Adam's Bridge
A 1772-73 Argyll made by Louisa Courtauld and originally in the collection at Kedleston. The Argyll is today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Government House, Calcutta, from a circa 1910 postcard. The design of Government House was based on Kedleston.

Designed   Interior designs, including ceilings.
Date   1760s
Attribution of this work is uncertain.

Designed   Took over from Paine and completed House for 1st Lord Scarsdale. Adam designed South Front, Saloon, interiors, the Bridge, and the Fishing House.
Date   Circa 1760-70

Designed   Took over from Brettingham, who had already built Northeast Wing. Paine built Northwest Wing (Kitchen and Laundry) and started work on central block and quadrants when he was replaced by Adam.
Date   1759-60

Designed   Hired with Brettingham to do interiors
Date   Circa 1758-59
Attribution of this work is uncertain.

Designed   First designs for House for 1st Lord Scarsdale, of which only the Northeast Wing had been built when Brettingham was replaced by Paine.
Date   Circa 1758-59

Designed   Worked on earlier Queen Anne house (destroyed circa 1700)
Date   1687-88

Extant / Listed / References

Extant Type
Fully Extant
Extant Details

House Listed As 
Grade I
Gardens Listed As  
Grade I
Country House:  Yes

Vitruvius Britannicus
C. IV, pls. 45-51, 1767.
Vitruvius Scoticus
J.B. Burke (Burke's Visitation of Seats)
Country Life
X, 240, 1901. XXXIV, 892, 928 plan, 1913. CLXIII, 194 plan, 262, 322, 1978.
J.P. Neale (Neale's Views of Seats)
Vol. I, 1818.
Access / Ownership / Seat

Open to Public Please note: Houses listed as being open "By Appointment" are usually country house hotels, B&Bs, or schools.
Historic Houses Association Member
Phone Number If calling from the U.S., delete the first "0" in British numbers.
Fax Number

Current Ownership
Current Ownership Type
The National Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use
Visitor Attraction
Current Ownership Use / Details

Seat ("Seat" is loosely defined as any family that occupied the house for a period of 2 years or more)
Today Seat of
Curzon family
A Past Seat(s) of
Sir Nathaniel Curzon, later first Baron Scarsdale, 18th century. George Nathaniel Curzon, later Viscount Scarsdale, Earl Curzon, and Marquess Curzon, early 20th century.
Possible (Unsure) Seat of
History / Gardens & Park / Movies

Earlier House(s) / Building(s)
An earlier Queen Anne house on the site was demolished to make way for the current house. In addition, Sir Nathaniel Curzon moved the entire village of Kedleston, save the Church, half a mile away to create the perfect setting for his new house.
House Replaced By
Built / Designed For
Sir Nathaniel Curzon
House & Family History
The original designs for Kedleston by James Stuart were based on Palladio’s unbuilt Villa Mocenigo, published in his "Quattro Libri." Kedleston was intended to be a modern day Roman temple of the arts. The South Façade by Robert Adam is based on the Arch of Constantine in Rome, while Adam's famous top-lit Marble Hall is supported by 20 fluted (carved in situ) Corinthian columns of pink-veined alabaster (mined locally from the Curzon family's quarries at Ratcliffe-on-Soar) with white alabaster capitals based on those of the Temple of Jupiter Stator in the Roman Forum; the columns soar 25 feet to the ceiling. Above the Marble Hall's alcoves are monochrome panels depicting scenes from Homer. The Hall also contains fine plasterwork by Joseph Rose. The Saloon dome is 62 feet high and was inspired by the Roman Pantheon, with the rosettes and octagonal compartments in the dome inspired by the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome, with the coffering in the alcoves copied from the Temple of Venus and Rome in the Roman Forum. The wall sconces in the Saloon depict playing cupids taken from the work of Poussin and Raphael. Kedleston cost the immense sum of £70,000 (approximately £112 million in 2012 values using the labour value commodity index) to complete and contains one of the least altered and most complete sequence of Robert Adam’s interiors in England. The design of Government House in Calcutta, home to the Viceroy of India, was built between 1799 and 1803 by Marquess Wellesley (brother of the 1st Duke of Wellington) to the designs of Charles Wyatt, and was based on Kedleston Hall (see photo in "Images" section). When the capital of India was moved to Delhi in 1911 Government House became the residence of the Governor of Bengal; the building is now known as the Raj Bhawan. Kedleston today houses the Indian Museum, which contains a display of artifacts brought back by George, Lord Curzon, while he was Viceroy of India (1899-1905). Lord Curzon was a passionate preservationist with a strong sense of his family's history (the Curzon family has lived in this part of Derbyshire since the 12th century) and was responsible for saving a number of important historic structures; however, a little ditty written while he was at Oxford is what has stuck through time: "My name is George Nathaniel Curzon, I am a most superior person. My cheek is pink, my hair is sleek, I dine at Blenheim once a week." The Capital Transfer Tax upon the 2nd Viscount’s death in 1977, in part, led to The National Trust's acquisition of Kedleston; the House and contents were acquired, and an endowment established, with total funds of £13,981,715, raised by public and private donations.
Collections This field lists art objects that are currently or were previously in the collection of the house.

For information on the history of British currency, click here.  To use a chart that allows you to compare the purchasing power of money In Great Britain from 1264 to any other year, including the present, click here.  To use a currency conversion to see the current value of the British pound, click here.
The pair of 17th century silver cisterns originally in the Dining Room at Kedleston were sold in 1947 (one is today in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the other is in a private collection). The copies on view today at the House were made in the 1980s for The National Trust. A set of three silver condiment vases by Louisa Courtauld and George Cowles, London, 1771-72, made for Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Scarsdale, are today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Also in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is a silver argyll made by Courtauld and Cowles in London, 1772-73, for Nathaniel Curzon. The 12 painted benches, designed by Robert Adam, and made circa 1788 by John Linnell for the Marble Hall, are based on the Tomb of Agrippa in Rome. The Linnells also executed the four over-the-top Drawing Room sofas on a nautical theme, which are loosely based on Adam's designs. Please see the pdf in the "Related Resources" section for the mid-1950s notes and lists of Cornelius Clarkson Vermeule III, the late scholar of ancient art and classical curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on the collection of ancient art at Kedleston.
Kedleston’s great rooms are frequently cited as the best in England. The North Facade has been described as "the grandest Palladian facade in Britain, with few rivals anywhere in the world." Olivier Bernier, writing in "The New York Times" on November 20, 1988, called the Marble Hall "one of the most glorious rooms ever built."

Gardens & Park
Garden, Park, Follies and Outbuildings
The House is set in 800 acres of parkland, complete with 18th century pleasure grounds that includes five lakes, the Fishing Pavilion, a summer house, and the Orangery. The Fishing Pavilion was built 1770-72 to Adam's designs and has exterior stone roundels of putti riding sea monsters carved by George Moneypenny. Inside, still life paintings of fish and a fishing scene by Zuccharelli adorn the walls. The Estate today comprises 6,000 acres.
Chapel & Church
Adjacent to the House is the 13th century church, all that remains of the former village of Kedleston, which was moved from this site to make way for the current House.

Location for Movies / TV
"Women in Love" (1969). "Boon" (1991 - TV series, episode 6.5, "The Barefaced Contessa," for the charity auction). "A History of Britain" (2000 - TV documentary series). "Jane Eyre" (2006 - BBC TV mini series for the flashback scene in the Caribbean). "When Did You Last See Your Father?" (2007). "The Duchess" (2008). "Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour of Europe" (2009 - TV mini series). "The Legend of Tarzan" (2016).

Author   Sayer, Michael
Year Published   1993

Author   Colvin, Howard
Year Published   2008
Reference   pgs. 51, 156, 771, 862

Author   NA
Year Published   1983
Reference   pg. 1

Author   Wilson, Richard; Mackley, Alan
Year Published   2000
Reference   pg. 243

Author   Various Authors
Year Published   2001
Reference   pgs. 9, 16, 20, 30, 36, 38, 44, 45

Author   Alcorn, Ellenor M.
Year Published   2000
Reference   pgs. 212, 216

Author   NA
Year Published   1997
Reference   pgs. 12, 34, 35

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   Nov 1985, pg. 686

Notes of Cornelius Clarkson Vermeule III on the collection of ancient art at Kedleston, view PDF

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