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Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire claims several distinctions: it was built by a woman, Bess of Hardwick, who married four times, accumulating the vast fortune that financed her home; it was designed by the most accomplished architect in Elizabethan England, Robert Smythson; and it is among the most perfectly preserved of Elizabethan homes. No evidence exists that Shakespeare ever visited Hardwick Hall, situated in the north of England, far from London. This article looks closely at the building and explores what is admittedly a speculation: that aesthetic principles guiding Elizabethan architecture and interior design have implications for drama. In particular, it looks at the relationship between the plastic arts and the elaborate plots that characterize plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191744136
ISBN (Print)9780199566105
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Aesthetic principles
  • Elizabethan England
  • Elizabethan architecture
  • Hardwick Hall
  • Plastic arts
  • Robert Smythson
  • Shakespeare's plays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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