People, possessions and perceptions exhibition at Chatsworth

People, possessions and perception at Chatsworth

Life Stories: Exhibition 21 March – 4 October 2020

A new exhibition will present some of the fascinating figures that have shaped Chatsworth’s past and present over the centuries by placing their portraits alongside key objects that both illuminate their story and influence perceptions about one of Britain’s most historic estates.

Life Stories traces the lives of friends, artists, politicians and others associated with Chatsworth. Running from 21 March to 4 October, the exhibition pairs portraits and objects, inviting visitors to look closer and meet the many faces of Chatsworth.

Artists Lucian Freud and Angela Conner, the playwright Tom Stoppard, the poet Sir John Betjeman, and ceramicist Natasha Daintry are paired in new and unexpected ways. Objects such as the abandoned paints used by Freud on an unfinished work found in the Sabine Bathroom are used to illustrate their relationship to Chatsworth.

Famous names and objects, Devonshire family members, and staff such as cellarman Edmund Marsden invite visitors to look again at works in the Collection. Founder Bess of Hardwick’s portrait is shown with a modern reproduction of her necklace of 1000 pearls, footage recreating the moment film star Adele Astaire met her future family introduces moments of humour and humanity, while new pieces of jewellery by contemporary artist Tarka Kings are inspired by Chatsworth’s collection of portrait miniatures.

Sting of 1000 pearls, C.W. Sellors
String of 1,000 pearls © C.W. Sellors © The Devonshire Collections, Chatsworth.

“We wanted to make the famous faces seen all around Chatsworth more human and easier to relate to – to reduce the distance that their name or the grand setting can sometimes create. In the end, they are human beings like the rest of us and by linking them to a very personal object we make it easier to understand them as people and the impact, great or small, they have had on Chatsworth over the years,” Dr Alexandra Hodby, Curator of Exhibitions & Engagement, Chatsworth.

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