The Great Room at Hardwick Hall
Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus
Medium: Ink on paper
Hardwick Hall was designed for Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury (c.1527-1608), by Robert Smythson and was completed in 1597. The 300 acre grounds comprise walled courtyards, finely landscaped gardens, orchards and a herb garden. The estate is a stunning example of Elizabethan architecture and shows to full effect the wealth and grandeur of its original occupant.
Bess of Hardwick - as she is popularly known - rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most influential members of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Together with her fourth husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, she was appointed guardian - or jailer! - of Mary Queen of Scots. When her husband died in 1590, she became the richest woman in Britain after the Queen.