Frederick Kiefer

in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566105
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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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.

Keywords: Hardwick Hall; Robert Smythson; Elizabethan England; aesthetic principles; Elizabethan architecture; plastic arts; Shakespeare's plays

Article.  10692 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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