The Painted Hall was designed by English architect and landscape designer William Talman and stands on the site of the original 16th century house.
The present ceremonial staircase leads to the State Apartments on the first floor- and was designed by W. H. Romaine-Walker in 1912, which substituted the previous one designed by Sir Jeffry Wyatville (1766-1840).
The grandiose Ceremonial staircase is dominated by the bronze statue of Mercury, after Giambologna (1529-1608). The staircase was initially a horseshoe shape set of stairs- between the stairs was the entrance to the Grotto– home to the 1st Duke’s (1640-1707) very modern plumbing system, which provided both hot and cold running water.
The fourth Duke of Devonshire commissioned French painter Louis Laguerre who also worked at Blenheim Palace to paint the ceiling and the upper part of the walls. (1692-4)
Other paintings on the east wall are by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699) and Jakob Bogdány (c.1660-1724). There are also various Roman sculptures of the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. and 17th and 18th century Italian sculptures.
Originally the Painted Hall had no ground floor windows; these were added by the 6th Duke in the 1820s, who also laid the black and white marble floor in 1779.