Chatsworth House & a ‘new’ friend.

    During my years studying with The Open University, I have made many friends. Some have lived nearby, some have lived throughout the country & further afield, some I’ve met & some I haven’t (yet). The magic of social media has allowed me the sort of friendbase which ‘brick’ uni students get automatically. This weekend just gone I went to Chatsworth House to meet an OU friend for the first time & to enjoy the House & it’s wonderful collection of artworks. I was nervous about both, – I have suffered with social & general anxiety most of my life – a new place, which I traveled to on my own, & a new person (though we had been friends online for over 2 years). I was not disappointed by either.

    Chatsworth House is spectacular, if a little frustrating. Each room’s ceilings, walls & floors are painted, carved or tiled & each room is also filled with decorative or domestic pieces of art & history.

    Scenes from Julius Caesar’s life adorn the Painted Hall including his ascension depicted in vibrant colour & with a superb sense of depth on the ceiling. 

    There are several fantastic portraits of Georgiana Spencer, who was the intriguing Duchess of Devonshire from the 18th century. 

    & the wonderful Oak Stairs are surrounded by portraits of the rich & influential, including the magnificently dandy coronation portrait of King George IV. 

My favourite parts of or pieces in the house are:

1) The miniature statue of Pluto, Prosperina & Ceres. 

2) The Library & the Dome Room. 

3) The Veiled Vestal Virgin statue (1847) by Rafaelle Monti, in the Dome Room. 

&

4) The Sculpture Gallery in the final room. 

    On talking to one of the wonderfully helpful & enthusiastic staff members, we were told that the collection rotates regularly. Apparently for every month out on show, a piece spends the same amount of years in dark storage for conservation reasons, so 6 months on display equals 6 years in storage (I believe this refers to the paintings, drawings, etching prints, etc)

    The frustrating parts of the day were technical: lack of toilets in the house, only being allowed through the house once, which after having to pay £19.90 for the House & Garden ticket & not being told in advance angered me a little, & equally not being able to pay for the house alone.

    Chatsworth House is a rather exquisite art gallery, one in which the context & function of some of the pieces are showcased to the fullest. It is a spectacular place, from your first glimpse as your wind your way up the driveway, to the awe of the very last room (the sculpture room). & enjoying it with a companion who is as infatuated with its display as much as you are, makes it a dream experience & a wonderful day out. 

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