Kedleston Hall is 'the most splendid Georgian house of Derbyshire'. It was designed by Matthew Brettingham c1758, and its central block was redesigned in 1761 by James Paine. The south front, of 1760, is by Robert Adam. (1-2)
Kedleston Hall is one of the most famous 18th century houses in England and has superb interiors. Originally designed by James Paine 1757-61, it was completed by Robert Adam c1765-70. The north-east wing was designed by Matthew Brettingham in 1758. The Grade II* listed stables to the west of the house, date from 1767-9. They were built to replace the stables demolished when the new house was constructed. (3)
In 2006 an archaeological watching brief was carried out by Archaeological Research Services Ltd during groundworks in the southern garden at Kedleston Hall. The groundworks were required to remedy problems with collapsing culverts in the vicinity of an 18th century brick culvert that was known to exist in the area. This brick culvert was encountered during the watching brief, along with a tunnel that was found to run with the culvert and was thought to have been excavated for the purpose of constructing the brick drain itself. (4)
During remedial works to the roof structure of the Marble Hall in 2009, a photographic record was made of carpenters' marks visible on the timber components of the structure. These are original, produced for the assembly of the roof in the 18th century, and appear to be relatively well preserved. (5)
A survey of the fabric and method of construction of the Marble Hall was carried out in 2017 and suggested that the floor was laid on a base of massive double principal joists, over which a layer of timber and sand had been lain. The weight of the structure has caused some movement of the fabric. (6)
From the National Heritage List for England:
'SK 34 SW PARISH OF KEDLESTON KEDLESTON PARK 3/41 Kedleston Hall 25.9.51 GV I Large country house, set in large landscape park. 1758-65 by Matthew Brettingham, James Paine and Robert Adam. Interiors complete by the 1780s. Red brick faced in ashlar and render. Hipped Welsh slate roofs. Various brick stacks largely hidden within the roof wells. Main rectangular block with quadrant colonnades and rectangular pavilions following Palladio's Villa Mocenigo. Rusticated basement, piano nobile and attic storeys. Principal north front: Centre block of eleven bays. Hexastyle, giant Corinthian portico over a basement of five round arches. Three statues on the pediment. Double staircase. In the portico, central doorway flanked by niches with statues. Medallions above depicting vintage, pasturage, ploughing, and bear hunting, 1769 by William Collins. Dentilled cornice and blocking course. Three bays on either side of the portico with square sash windows to the basement, glazing bar sashes in pedimented aedicules above and rectangular attic windows with moulded surrounds. Quandrants on either side without an attic storey. The basement continues the round-arched arcade, with windows set in. Glazing bar sashes above, with balustrading below the sills as on the main block. The bays divided by Tuscan pilasters. Tripartite windows to the return walls. Linked to identical pavilions, lower than the main block but still with basement, piano nobile and attic storeys. The upper storeys are cement rendered. Five bays, with four attached Ionic columns supporting a pediment. Similar fenestration to main block but with plain surrounds. South front of 3-3-3 bays. The centre piece derived from the Arch of Constantine. Four detached Corinthian columns standing close to the antae and pilasters against the wall. Each column carrying its own piece of entablature with statues above, in front of an attic with the date 1765 inscribed. Shallow lead dome above. Double staircase with sharply curved flights. Central door- way with pedimented Corinthian aedicule, set within a blind round arch, and flanked by niches with statues and medallions above, as on the north front. Frieze of swags and medallions above. The outer bays are given similar but less grand treatment, to those on the main north front. The east and west elevations of 2-3-2 bays are treated more simply, with the central feature of a Venetian window. That on the west side was at an early date blocked. The south elevations of the pavilions are likewise treated in a plainer manner, the three centre bays advanced beneath a pediment. Interior: The main entrance is into the magnificent Marble Hall, about 67ft by 37ft, and 40ft high (taking in the attic storey). Two rows of giant Corinthian columns of pink Nottinghamshire alabaster. They were fluted in 1775, against the advice of Robert Adam. Frieze and coved ceiling with delicate stucco decoration by Joseph Rose to a design by George Richardson. Hoptonwood stone floor with inlay, designed by Adam. Around the walls are niches with casts of antique sculpture. Above are grisaille panels of Homeric subjects. Chimneypieces with elaborate over- mantles by Rose, incorporating painted roundels. Beyond, in the relationship of 'atrium' and 'Vestibulum', is the saloon, a full-height domed rotunda. Apsed niches in the corners filling the square outer walls. Coffered dome and central skylight. Pedimented doorcases with pilasters of blue scagliola. Frieze of anthemion and palmette. Painted panels of ruins, by Gavin Hamilton, and grisaille panels of scenes of British Worthies by J B Rebecca. In the niches are four cast iron vases on pedestals. Two of them are stoves. The Music Room has Ionic doorcases and delicate plaster ceiling designed by Adam. Marble chimneypiece inlaid with Blue John. The State Drawing Room, lit by a Venetian window to east. Corinthian order for the alabaster window and door surrounds. Chimneypiece with scene of virtue rewarded by honour and riches, by Spang. The Library with severe Roman Doric doorcase. Bookcases designed by Adam. Plaster ceiling divided into octagonal patterns. Triglyph frieze. Beyond the Saloon is the principal Dressing Room (also called the State Boudoir), preceeded by an anteroom, and the two divided by a tripartite screen with pierced segmental arch above the entablature. More delicate plaster ceiling. Chimneypiece brought from elsewhere c1908. Similar decoration in the State Bedroom with fine chimney- piece. Beyond is the Wardrobe (also called the Dressing Room) which communicates with the Dining Room. Apse at the west end, flanked by stucco medallions by William Collins. Ceiling with painted panels by Zucchi (continents), Hamilton (seasons) and Moorland (centre). Chimneypiece with termini caryatids by Spang. The Main Staircase is off the Marble Hall. Cantilvered stone staircase around a rectangular well. Carved tread ends, wrought iron balusters, delicate wreathed and ramped handrial. Stucco panels of 1924. The staircase leads up to the semi-state bedrooms with plain coved ceilings, dentil cornicing and plain marble chimneypieces. Some of the doors may be re-used from the earlier Hall. Three other staircases, of stone, cantilvered with stick balusters. Beneath the Marble Hall a low hall with two rows of stone columns, and two rows of iron columns inserted in 1806. The north west pavilion houses the kitchens and service rooms. The north east pavilion houses the family apartments.
Sources: Christopher Hussey: English Country Houses: Mid-Georgian 1760-1800
Country Life 1956, Second edition 1984. pp72-78
Unpublished information from Mr Leslie Harris, Kedleston Archives
Country Life 24 August 1901; 20 & 27 December 1913; 26 January 1978, pp 194-197, 2 February 1978 pp 262-266; 9 February 1978 pp 322-325
Listing NGR: SK3127140296.'