- Pride and Prejudice’s esteemed author Jane Austen used Chatsworth – one of the UK’s best known and loved historic houses, and ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire – as the inspiration for brooding romantic hero Mr. Darcy’s home, Pemberley.
- In her novel, Austen described Pemberley as ‘ a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;- and in front, a stream of some natural importance, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned.’
- Her heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, was clearly impressed: ‘Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!’
- Chatsworth was also mentioned as one of the estates Elizabeth Bennet visits before arriving at Pemberley in Austen’s evergreen novel.
- The bustling market town of Bakewell is believed to be the model for the fictional Lambton in the novel, and Austen is thought to have stayed at the town’s Rutland Arms Hotel.
- Renishaw Hall & Gardens, the home of the Sitwell family in north east Derbyshire, featured as Pemberley, in a BBC TV mini-series screened in 1980. Jane Austen’s novel was adapted by Fay Weldon, and the series starred Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul.
- Lyme Park in Disley, Cheshire, on the fringe of the Peak District National Park, was Pemberley in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation, starring Jennifer Ehle and Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth. Visitors still flock from all over the world to see the lake from which Firth appeared as masterful Mr. Darcy, clad in a tight-fitting, dripping wet white shirt and breeches!
- Chatsworth starred in the exterior scenes of the 2005 film version of the novel, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.
- Knightley and Macfadyen stayed at the nearby, multi award-winning hotel, The Peacock at Rowsley, during filming.
- Some interiors at Chatsworth were also used in the film – eagle eyed film buffs may recognise the grand staircase and ceiling of the Painted Hall, where Elizabeth Bennet and the Gardiners start their tour of Pemberley.
- Chatsworth’s Sculpture Gallery was used in the scene where Elizabeth sees the bust of Mr. Darcy, and his housekeeper describes his many good qualities. Some of the estate’s fine collection of art, including the veiled Vestal Virgin sculpture, appeared in the same scene.
- The makers of the 2005 film left behind an unusual souvenir – the bust of Mr. Darcy, modelled on Matthew Macfadyen’s head and made as a prop from resin mixed with marble dust. It can be seen in the Orangery shop at the end of the house tour, beyond the Sculpture Gallery.
For more information, contact Janette Sykes, PR Manager at Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, 07792 924839, firstname.lastname@example.org.