Wednesday, September 12, 2007

attingham: chatsworth

There is a reason that Chatworth has often been refered to as a "jewel in England's crown" ~ magnificent for its grounds, architecture, and collections. I'll let Anne tell you all about it...

Chatsworth is quite simply incredible, and has the distinction of being the only property we visited twice. Among its delights are gilded window casings, lounging naked boys accompanied by adoring dogs, free-range heirloom chickens, and a 17th-century metal tree sculpture that sprays water from its branches. While the house we see today was built and decorated over the course of 400 years, much of the exterior was put in place by the first Duke of Devonshire during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In the 1750s and 1760s, the fourth Duke employed ‘Capability’ Brown to create the seemingly-natural landscape park in which the house still sits (see above). In the first half of the 19th century, the sixth Duke made dramatic changes to the interiors, added enormously to the family’s collections of art and rare books, and hired Joseph Paxton to make important additions to the garden. Among these are the rock garden, where artfully-placed boulders create a magical landscape reminiscent of Alice’s wonderland.

One of the most thrilling things about Chatsworth is the way that tradition and change are maintained in perfect equilibrium. A case in point is the exhibition Beyond Limits: Sotheby’s at Chatsworth, currently on display in the gardens (I particularly love the Vache Paysage by Francois-Xavier Lalanne). This exhibition, held in conjunction with Sotheby’s, highlights 23 works of large-scale contemporary sculpture that will be sold when the installation comes to a close. I am very sorry to have to have missed it ~ it would be wonderful to see the autumnal colors of the gardens set off by such unexpected and modern artworks.




(bottom image: Chatsworth, engraving from Morris's Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen, published 1880)

3 comments:

MIR said...

What a magnificient property. It stood in for Pemberley in the recent Pride and Prejudice movie. I can just see Mr. Darcy now......

Jackie Von Tobel said...

It is such a beautiful home and grounds but the thing that caught my eye is how huge those chickens are!! I'm a city girl and those don't look like the size of chickens they're frying up at The Colonels.
Jackie

Style Court said...

All of these English posts are amazing -- again, thanks for sharing.