The mansion was criticized for having an austere, purely functional exterior, "like an East India warehouse". It was renowned for a sumptuous
interior. Devonshire House had some of the most ornate rooms in London, as the historical sketch below suggests. The brick wall along the
Piccadilly front was unpopular. Passers-by found this barrier unattractive and unsociable.
In the story... Diana arrives here in December 1854, her first time south of Derbyshire. She is the guest of the bachelor
6th Duke of Devonshire. His great-niece,
Louisa Cavendish, usually serves as his chatelaine here. When
her father takes seriously ill, she goes home to Lancashire to care for him.
Diana steps in to serve as chatelaine.