The Treasures of Chatsworth – A Must See at Sotheby’s
Sotheby’s in New York City is truly a wonderful place to see some marvelous exhibits – FREE! This past week several of our NYC Insiders’ Club members reserved a tour of Treasures of Chatsworth Exhibition which will be on display through September 13. We highly recommend a visit. You can make a reservation here. Here are a few of the highlights from our visit.
Chatsworth House, in the United Kingdom, is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. It is one of the most fabulous estates in the UK. It is open to the public and is definitely worth a visit. The house is renowned for the quality of its art, landscape and hospitality, and has evolved through the centuries to reflect the tastes, passions and interests of succeeding generations, standing today among the most important stately homes in the UK. Rich with thousands of objects, the Devonshire Collection represents a grand tradition of collecting spanning half a millennium, and is widely celebrated as one of the most significant collections of art and objects in Europe.
The exhibition has some fun interactivity. For example here are some of our Insider Club Members using the exhibit laptops which when directed to this wall, pop up with pictures and stories of Chatsworth’s dukes and ditches over the centuries. And there are wonderful videos throughout the exhibit too.
The Devonshire Tiara is Spectacular
The Devonshire Tiara, a remarkable example of Victorian jewelry, is a treasure that has been passed down and worn by generations of Cavendish ladies. The tiara was made in 1865 for Lady Louisa Egerton, née Cavendish, to be worn on the day of her wedding to Hon. Francis Egerton. Following tradition, the tiara was also worn by the present Duchess Amanda on her wedding day in 1967, and by her daughter, Lady Celina, on her wedding day in 1995.
Cast in silver and gold with numerous diamonds of various size and cuts, the tiara truly dazzles. But it’s also versatile: various pieces of the design can be removed, allowing the tiara to be work as a necklace or divided up into brooches.
Peeress Robe Worn by Duchess Deborah to Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 Coronation
The Peeress Robe is a luminous example of Regency era ceremonial garments. Thought to be made for the 6th Duke of Devonshire’s sister, Lady Georgiana Cavendish, wife of the 6th Earl of Carlisle, to wear to William IV’s Coronation in 1831, the robe is cut from exquisite red velvet and ivory lace, with fur trim throughout. While the waistline of the garment has been altered (likely for Duchess Deborah), the neckline appears in its original form, and is typical of the 1830s style.
More than a century later, in 1953, Duchess Deborah was in search of a proper outfit to wear to the Coronation of Elizabeth II. As she writes in her book, Wait for Me!, she happened upon the crimson Peeress robe in tin trunks at Chatsworth. The dress was perfect, as she notes: “With velvet of exceptional quality, so soft your fingers hardly know they are touching it.” Duchess Deborah, “Wait For Me!”, 2011, Picador
There was just one problem: the bodice is cut off the shoulder, a style unlike the other peeress’ gowns. However, the Queen granted the 11th Duke and Duchess a dispensation, allowing the Duchess to wear the robe for the Coronation.