Episode 5: The Needlework of Elizabethan Chatsworth

By Sotheby's


F ew images of the first residence at Chatsworth exist, so a 16th-century needlework panel depicting the house is particularly cherished. The meticulously stitched piece is “the earliest representation of Elizabethan Chatsworth, which doesn’t survive anymore, so it’s incredibly important,” says the 12th Duke of Devonshire. Built in 1550, the first house was altered over many years, most significantly by the 6th Duke, beginning around 1830. “This panel is part of the archive, and that has made us realize how important it is to document all our changes that we are making. I think it’s a moral obligation because this is history,” the Duke explains. To that end, he and the Duchess have commissioned British artist Johnny Warrender to paint present-day Chatsworth. Warrender is also creating 24 drawings of buildings as well as statuary and water features in the gardens. He is “a brilliant” painter of contemporary buildings and views,” says the Duke. The drawings, says Warrender, “will capture the interests and enthusiasms of the current Duke and Duchess, which I would like to feel, in 100 years time, says something about them just quietly, just discreetly . . . that’s the value of a collection like this.”


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