Pathé Productions film The Duchess filmed at Holkham Hall, Norfolk

The Duchess © Pathé Productions 2008

Filming at Holkham

The Duchess

In October 2007, Pathé Productions began filming for two weeks after Holkham Hall was selected as one of the country houses to be used to recreate the interior of Devonshire House, the London residence of the Duke of Devonshire, a building which no longer exists. The film was released in Autumn 2008 and starred Keira Knightley as Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire and Ralph Fiennes as the Duke of Devonshire.

The Marble Hall and the Saloon featured in many scenes of the film. Three weeks of complex organisation – accommodation units, catering, scaffolding, generator lorries, lighting crew, electricians, make-up artists and a massive costume marquee.

To ensure that the lighting would appear the same between shots taken at different times of day and later edited together, windows on both sides of the hall were blocked. Huge arc lights were then brought in to imitate natural daylight.

The filming attracted a great deal of both local and press interest when the production company sourced extras by advertising in the local newspapers. The local town of Fakenham was inundated with people looking for a part to play.