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Chatsworth Private Theatre


The private theatre of the Duke of Devonshire. A rare example of a theatre of a kind more common in central European palaces, in this case on the first floor of a tower at the north end of a long wing added by Wyatville to the ducal palace of Chatsworth from 1820-27.

It was designed as a multi-purpose ballroom, flat floored, with windows along the side walls, a central doorway at one end flanked by two large, slightly raised boxes and a small gallery above for servants.

It has a fine ceiling with panels to form frames for late seventeenth century painting by Cheron and Thornhill. The most notable feature theatrically, however, is the proscenium which, although flat, is painted in trompe l'oeil to give the illusion of a florid plaster frame with richly tasseled drapes. The proscenium divides the original room, with the cornice continuing over the stage. There is a splendid act drop (no longer hung, but kept in a roll) depicting the Elizabethan Chatsworth. The stage is shallow with no grid but with original pulleys, wings, borders etc.

Not normally open to public view.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1830 - 1940
Current state
Current use
Converted to other use (Store and workroom for textile conservation)
Chatsworth House, Chatsworth, Derbyshire, England
Further details
Other names
  • Design/Construction: Cheron & Thornhill, ceiling furnishings
  • Owner/Management:
  • 1830 Design/Construction:
    - Architect
  • 1830 - 1940 Use:
  • 1845 Design/Construction:
    - Consultant
    connecting ornament between ceiling panels
  • Listing
    Listed as part of Chatsworth House
Stage type
Pros flat
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 13ft 4in working; 23ft 8in scenic Width SL: 15ft SR: 15ft
Proscenium width: 16ft x 12ft high
Height to grid: 19ft 6in
Inside proscenium: 32ft 6in
Orchestra pit: None