Wednesday, 24 March 2010

New Ceramics in the State Closet

My wife and I acquired this piece, called “Five caddies and tea pots on a ground” by Julian Stair in February 2010.  We visited his studio last summer as we have long admired his work. 

I went back to see what he’d produced recently. I was delighted to find a number of exquisite pieces and this is one of them. 

We certainly had not planned to introduce any contemporary work into the State Rooms, but it seemed appropriate to have contemporary china in the 1st Duke’s closet which has been decorated with plates for as long as I can remember.  Unfortunately this piece has already become known, rather irreverently, as “Teapot Row” which is also the name of 4 estate cottages built by my great grandfather, opposite what is now the Estate Office on the outskirts to Edensor Village.

Stoker Devonshire



Sunday, 14 March 2010

Chatsworth re-opens, to media acclaim

The unveiling of the new spaces in the house, the remarkable new displays, and the restored courtyard, have all attracted very positive media coverage, which is a relief! What I had not expected was how warm the coverage has been - writers genuinely bowled over by the amount there is to see that is new, refreshed, unexpected and exciting. Frank Barrett, travel editor of the Mail on Sunday, kindly referred to Chatsworth as 'one of the world's most extraordinary tourist attractions'. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1256027/Chatsworth-House-Derbyshire-reopens-15m-facelift.html and their sister paper, the Mail, has also given us very positive coverage  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1257347/Duke-gives-sneak-peek-refurbished-Chatsworth-14m-spent-celebrate-Devonshire-dynasty.html. Richard Dorment has written a beautiful piece in the Daily Telegraph this Saturday, and so many other national papers, TV news programmes and radio stations have also given us their time. We look forward to a Front Row programme on BBC Radio 4, likely to go out on Easter Monday, for which John Wilson came up to interview the Duke, Michael Craig Martin and the sitter for his colourful, ever-changing new computer portrait, Laura Burlington. 
But the prize for most unexpected acclaim goes to Kelvin MacKenzie in the Sun. 'Before you kick the bucket,' he said, 'you must visit Chatsworth...it is simply marvellous.' Not a man renowned for his soft heart, it was good to get such a mention from this man of the people. Now we want to know what you all think. When you visit, please let us know!
Simon Seligman

Friday, 12 March 2010

What a team

Chatsworth is a place that never ceases to amaze me.

All across the estate we have small teams of people all focused on getting their piece of the jigsaw in place ready for our guests arriving at the weekend. The changes in the house are breathtaking, the gardeners have used winter to great advantage, we have new access routes to the farm yard and my team have done a great job updating menu’s and introducing new lines into the shops.

It really is inspiring to see so many people galvanized by a common goal and to be surrounded by so much positive energy.


To each and every one of the team, well done!


Alan Caldwell, Head of Trading


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Camellia Success

This year we have again achieved excellent success at the Royal Horticultural Society Early Camellia Competition held at Wisley Garden.  We spent a busy couple of days selecting, gathering and packing blooms last week before travelling down to stage our best selection.   We entered over sixty blooms in eighteen categories and were very please to be awarded sixteen 1st, ten 2nd and six 3rd places - this being slightly better than last year.  Please visit the 1st Dukes Glasshouse within the garden to see a brilliant display of prize winning Camellias in full bloom.

Steve Porter

Assistant Head of Gardens and Domain

Monday, 8 March 2010

Chocolate chocolate everywhere and what a lot to share..


Its official 195 kilograms of mini foiled Easter eggs have been ordered, ready for the Easter egg hunts/trails at the farmyard. The number of Easter egg hunts/trails have been extended by popular demand to the whole of the Easter week end, Friday-Monday.


When the eggs arrive they will be kept under lock and key and password protected until the weekend. No one is trusted within a two metre radius of the eggs, the temptation is too great.  They will then be scattered, hidden, shared and eaten over the four days.

How many mini eggs do you think we will get for 195kg? Visit the farmyard at Easter and tell us what you think and eat a few yourselves-I will.


So for the next few weeks I will be sorting and counting eggs, ordering lots of ribbon, tissue paper, cutting out bunny ears for the craft sessions, checking out the Easter bunny, printing the trail, hiding the golden eggs, decorating the trailer…. I think I need chocolate to keep me going!


Check out our Whats on page for all the eggsiting events planned in the house garden and farmyard.



Cheryl Burfield

Farmyard and Adventure Playground


Friday, 5 March 2010

Excel Awards

Last night I attended the Excel Awards which were held here at Chatsworth. Visit Peak District and Derbyshire did a fantastic job of showcasing some exceptional talent across our region.

As for my team, they were magnificent. Our meal was cooked to perfection by our Head Chef Adam and his team of chefs and bakers and Thomas’s front of house team were a delight.

Well done to all of the award winners and all involved in making the night flow so smoothly.


Alan Caldwell, Head of Trading


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Rose pruning!

We have over the last week or two continued the clearance and replanting of the rockery, over the years many shrubs especially roses have flourished covering many rocks and outcrops.  To re-create the dramatic effect created by the 6th Duke and Paxton in the 1840’s this needs to be kept under control, from the pictures you can see the amazing arrangement of rocks that have again been revealed.  The plan is to reduce and control more rampant and larger growth and use mass ground cover plantings to set off the rocks and reduce weeding.

Steve Porter

Assistant Head of Gardens and Domain

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Challenging chandeliers!


We are now in the final stages of displaying the Great Dining room after the deep clean of the whole of the House, including the cleaning of the chandelier which contains 2,763 individual pieces! This year we shall be using a different, and much larger, table in here which is actually the table bought by the 6th Duke of Devonshire to fit this room when the long north wing of the house was built in 1832.  I thought that the table would appear too large, but it’s amazing how perfect it is in the space, and now that it’s been thoroughly cleaned, we are looking forward to clothing it, and setting out the porcelain, glass and silver. The cloth we shall be bringing out of store is Irish linen and bears the Chatsworth laundry mark of 1892 and is an amazing 10 yards long! Just imagine the wonderful dinners that must have taken place in here over the years…


Christine Robinson

Head housekeeper