DEVICES AND DESIRES: Bess of Hardwick


DEVICES AND DESIRES: Bess of Hardwick

KATE HUBBARD    Book Number: 87797    Product format: Hardback

The Earl of Shrewsbury wrote to Bess of Hardwick, 23rd October 1585: 'I have sene throwlie into your devices and desires.' Aided by a quartet of judicious marriages and a shrewd head for business, Bess of Hardwick rose from humble beginnings to become of the most respected and feared Countesses in Elizabethan England. She was an entrepreneur who built a family fortune, created glorious houses, the last and greatest built when she was a widow in her 70s. And she was deeply involved in matters of the Court, including the custody of Mary, Queen of Scots. While Beth cultivated many influential courtiers, she also collected numerous enemies, including her husband the Earl of Shrewsbury. Male historians of the 19th century portrayed her as a monster - 'A woman of masculine understanding and conduct, proud, furious, selfish, and unfeeling.' In the 21st century, she has been neutered by female historians, who recast her as a soft-hearted soul, much maligned and misunderstood. Oxford historian Kate Hubbard reveals that the truth lies somewhere in-between. She draws on more than 230 of Bess's letters including correspondence with Queen Elizabeth I and her counsellors, fond and furious missives to her husbands and children, and notes sharing titillating court gossip. It's at Chatsworth House that we today find the Hardwick building accounts; the first actual mention of the New Hall comes on 5th December 1590 while the Old Hall at Hardwick, very grand, very large, was still unfinished. Bess had worked on Chatsworth for 30 years with architects and surveyors. She died aged around 87 in 1608. Remainder mark. 354pp, lovely colour plates and plans, photographs and portraits.
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ISBN 9780062302991
Browse these categories as well: Historical Biography, History

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