Originally the entrance to Chatsworth House was in the west range of the building. Since 1760, however the entrance has been from the north range. The architect responsible for this change was Thomas Archer. Sir Jeffry Wyatville (1766-1858) later designed the arch leading to the entrance. The Entrance Hall, once the former kitchen, is the work of James Paine.
The North Entrance Hall
In the North Entance Hall a number of sculptures and paintings are on display. There is a statue of a mother and child dating from early 1st century A. D.; on the newal posts of the staircase, leading to the North Corridor, there are two busts, one a Roman portrait bust of a young man belonging to the 1st or 2nd century A. D. and the other, a Greek bust of Alexander the Great. Both are of marble. There is another Roman portrait bust dating from 1st century A. D. of the Emperor Antoninus Pius and by the windows we have Sir Francis Chantry's (1781-1841) bust of King George IV.
The paintings in the Entrance Hall include Scene in the olden times at Bolton Abbey by Sir Edwin Landseer (1803-73) and Diana and her nymphs surprised by Actaeon by Carlo Maratti (1625-1713) and Gaspard Dughet, called Gaspard Poussin (1615-1675). Paintings by Sir Peter Lely (1616-1680) (Henrietta Boyle, Countess of Rochester) and Jan Baptist Weenix(1621-1661) are also housed here.
The North Corridor
After passing through the Entrance Hall the visitor climbs the flight of steps to gain access to the North Corridor, originally an open colonnade transformed into the present corridor in the 1820s. The coloured marble paving captivates our attention and distracts us somewhat from the 17th century works of art on display. Here the walls are adorned with various paintings by French, Flemish and Italian artists among whom: Philip Wouwermans (1619-1668), Hendrik van Lint (1684-1763), Hans Rottenhammer (1564-1625), Frans Francken the Younger (1581-1642), Adriaen Verdoel, Cornelis van Poelenburch (1594/5-1667) Jacques Courtois, il Borgognone (1621-1675), Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (c.1609-1664), Alessandra Turchi (1578-1649), Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666), Giacinto Brandi (1621-1691), Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) and Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619), Francesco Zuccarelli (1702-1788).
The mahogany furniture was designed by William Kent (1685-1748 and the sculptured busts here are prevalently Roman, of the 2nd and 3rd centuries A. D., there is also a bust of Aphrodite, which is Hellenistic (3rd century) and a bust of Countess Maria Potocka by Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850).
From an artistic point of view somewhat out of place among these predominantly 17th century works of art are the 20th century portraits of Andrew Cavendish, XI Duke of Devonshire done by Stephen Convoy in 1992-3 and the Portrait of Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire by John Ulbricht (. 1926). They evidently have the symbolic function of welcoming the visitor into the house.
The north corridor leads us to the breath-taking Painted Hall.