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Aristocratic estate combines grandeur with modern, informal attributes!

February 25, 2016

Barry Flanagan at a Chatsworth House exhibition by Sotheby’s entitled Beyond Limits, 2012

Image courtesy of Artlyst

British country estates often serve as the epitome of exuberance and time honored tradition whose inhabitants hold a disdain for change. A perfect example is Chatsworth House, which has been the seat of the Duke of Devonshire ever since 1549. Notably, Duchess of Devonshire Deborah Cavendish (1920-2014), was the savior of Chatsworth House, which had fallen on hard times, as she made it her life’s work to transform it from a museum-like relic into a self-sustaining family business.

Chatsworth comprises several villages on 35,000 acres of land in addition to a 300-room palace built in 1551. When it was suggested that she hire a decorator, she refused for two reasons, “The first was that I cannot imagine living with some else’s taste, and the second was that I cannot see the point of paying someone to do something I can do myself.” We are glad she “stuck to her guns”!

Chatsworth House now breathes “fun”. Contemporary art graces the walls, hanging alongside priceless Old Masters paintings and neoclassical structures. We love the Lucian Freud portrait of the late duchess from 1956 that compliments the nearby traditional English library that’s filled with 17,000 books. The melding of taste and time-frame is part of what draws visitors to the palace. The palace is a dynamic, intriguing and exciting place…something often missing within old English country homes!

Marc Newson‘s Lockheed Lounge at Chatsworth House.

Image courtesy of Arkitexture

Antony Gormley, Construct II on display at the Inner Courtyard of Chatsworth House, 2014

Image courtesy of Venice Clay Artists


Antony Gormley, Beyond Limits, Chatsworth, Derbyshire, England, 2015.

Here the artist was included as a part of the 10th anniversary of Sotheby’s Beyond Limits annual exhibition, curated by Tim Marlow, Artistic Director of The Royal Academy of Arts.

Image courtesy of the artist

Manolo Valdes, Butterflies, at Chatsworth House, Beyond Limits, 2010

Image courtesy of Art Observed

The personal relationship between Lucian Freud and the 11th Duke of Devonshire began in the late 1940’s. Starting then, the Chatsworth House collection of Freud began. 

Above, Deborah Cavendish standing near Lucian Freud‘s 1956 portrait of her, titled, Woman in a White Shirt

Image courtesy of: Artnet News