Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.
The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood, stretching over a wide extent.
Elizabeth’s mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with some abruptness, wound…. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Chatsworth is said to be the model for Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s home in Pride and Prejudice, and the great house served as Pemberley for the 2005 film adaptation. The home of the Dukes of Devonshire, Chatsworth dates from the Elizabethan era when Bess of Hardwick and William Cavendish, the treasurer of the Chamber to Henry VIII, acquired the land. The exterior was rebuilt in the early 1700’s by William, the 1st Duke of Devonshire (Bess’s son). He built it wing by wing until some of the Elizabethan structure was buried deep within its new walls.
The first duke also renovated the garden, making it a complement to the house and causing Daniel Defoe to call it “the most pleasant garden and the most beautiful palace in the world.” In 1760 the 4th Duke widened the Derwent River. He also directed famed landscape architect Capability Brown to make neoclassical improvements to the land surrounding the house:
The cascade of the willow tree fountain is a dramatically splashing and rushing water feature, originally designed in the 1690s by Grillet, a pupil of Ande Le Norte. Several years later, this cascade was dug up and extended, and a temple pavilion designed by Thomas Archer was placed at the top of the cascade in 1703 to provide a dramatic vista from the east side of the house. Around 1830, Paxton supervised the rebuilding of more than half the water cascade to align it better with the house. A new water aqueduct filling the garden ponds, reservoirs, and pipework were built to supply it. Later in the 19th century, some criticized the cascade, which is rather unique for an English garden. Joshua Major, in his book on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, remarked on how the cascade combination of art and nature opposes the dictates of good taste. However, pushing the limits of water power and its effects interested Paxton, his innovative work on the cascade and other fountains, as well as his designs for the garden, still delights visitors today. The water cascades, a sheet of water flows over the series of elegant steps, down from the Baroque pavilion to disappear abruptly into a culvert at the bottom, and feed into yet another fountain, the Sea Horse Fountain on the South lawn close to the house. – The Fountains at Chatsworth
From that first period remain several formalist landscape designs including a spectacular cascade tumbling down stone steps in the hillside east of the house, which was designed by Grillet, a pupil of Le Notre. The little temple at the head of the steps is fitted out with pipes and spouts and becomes itself a fountain with water cascading down its dome.
The great parterres of this period were swept away by the vogue for the romantic or natural landscape as created by Lancelot (Capability) Brown for the fourth Duke. By the 1760’s, the gardens became lawns (Chatsworth boasts the oldest lawn in Britain under continuous care) and the hills were crested with oaks and elms seen today in their maturity. An unspoiled Capability Brown park is what Jane Austen was describing.- New York Times, 300 Years of Treasures At Chatsworth