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Hardwick Old Hall has undergone a 7 month long conservation project to protect the Hall's 400-year-old plaster friezes. Once the finest of their age, and a display of Bess of Hardwick's status and wealth, the Old Hall’s decorative plaster panels have long been exposed to the elements for two centuries.
Now, using a range of specialist skills, experts have managed to stabilise and preserve these original features, which depict beautiful plants and animals as well as allegorical scenes.
On the whole west wall – which faces out across the valley and is more exposed to weather damage – the team have completely reinstated the render on the building. The old render was analysed so that the new mix matches what was there historically and has been traditionally applied.
Elizabeth ('Bess') is born into a minor gentry family at Hardwick. Her only brother, James, later inherits the estate.
Find out more about Bess and the history of Hardwick
Bess marries Robert Barlow at the age of 15. Two years later, Robert dies on Christmas Eve.