October’s Curiosity of the Month has been chosen by volunteer Ian Gregory. Working part-time on the archives at Chatsworth House, Ian spares Buxton Museum one day a week to help document the photograph and art collections. His knowledge of local history is encyclopaedic and he occasionally highlights a remarkable image, such as this one. It’s over to you, Ian:
The print collection at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery contains a panoramic view of Buxton. What strikes me is the small size of Buxton in the image. Today The Crescent, Old Hall and Dome are the focal points of a built-up area. Back then, they were large classical buildings in the valley with smaller structures on the Market Place but few other buildings are in view. Dark rolling hills and white-edged clouds dominate this image.
There is no date on the print but its artistic style suggests either late-eighteenth or early-nineteenth century. Looking at old buildings today, it is easy to forget just how much their settings have changed. Back then, if a traveller had come across vast areas of moorland or even more fertile open countryside, the contrast between that and imposing Georgian architecture must have been striking.
The first glimpse of houses like Chatsworth or Lyme Park must have produced similar effects but today, we are used to sprawling estates around The Crescent and other landmarks.