Chatsworth

Man's Best Friend Takes Centre Stage at Britain's Greatest Country House

By Sotheby's
Dogs from all walks of life are being celebrated in a new exhibition this spring and summer at Chatsworth, inspired by the Duchess of Devonshire’s love of her treasured four-legged companions.

T he Dog: A Celebration at Chatsworth, sponsored by Sotheby's, is a compilation of everything from paintings and sculptures, to ceramics, snuff boxes and dog-themed jewelry, running from 23 March-6 October 2019.

The Duchess and her dog Max, a mixed terrier. Photo: Chatsworth House Trust Jo Broadhead

Highlights include works by Constable, Stubbs, Gainsborough and Landseer, as well as contemporary pieces by Lucian Freud, Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Elisabeth Frink.

Laying Down The Law (or Trial by Jury)  by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer. Image: Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth.Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees.
Laying Down The Law (or Trial by Jury) by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer. Image: Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth.Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees.
Glen Segal

There is also a specially-commissioned sculpture by Ben Long - an eight-metre high scaffolding structure of a dog - in the garden.

Ben Long, Dog Scaffolding Sculpture, 2019. Steel, aluminium. Lent by Ben Long. Image: Chatsworth House Trust shoot360.co.uk

The sculpture was commissioned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, whose love of dogs continues a long family tradition. In the 18th century Duchess Georgiana composed a poem, which speaks of 'friendship' and 'fidelity', demonstrating her deep feelings for dogs.

Chatsworth Gamekeeper Ben Stone with his gundog late1800s. Photo: Devonshire Collection

The current Duchess of Devonshire played a leading role in creating this exhibition, lending many of her own personal pieces. She said: “I have lived with and loved dogs for as long as I can remember. They are an integral part of my life and every day I see the importance of dogs reflected in the Collection at Chatsworth. When I look out into the park or walk my own dogs Max and Treacle, I am always conscious of the pleasure that so many people get from walking their dogs. I hope this exhibition gives people an opportunity to share in our love of dogs and add their own stories to this enduring relationship.”

Rocket 6-1, 1987 Nicola Hicks. Photo David Vintiner
Rocket 6-1, 1987 Nicola Hicks. Photo David Vintiner

Pieces in the collection cover doggie myths and legends, cartoons, Fabergé pieces made from precious stones and everything in between, from leading private and public collections including the V&A Museum.

During 2019 Chatsworth is working with charities Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Medical Detection Dogs to help raise awareness of their valuable work.

Andrew Cavendish, later 11th Duke of Devonshire, and Deborah with their children Emma and Peregrine and dogs Johnny and Bengy, July 1945. Photo: Devonshire Collection
Andrew Cavendish, later 11th Duke of Devonshire, and Deborah with their children Emma and Peregrine and dogs Johnny and Bengy, July 1945. Photo: Devonshire Collection

Keep an eye on #Chatswoof for all the fun and opportunities to get involved (and more doggie snaps than you can shake - or throw - a stick at). Find out more at www.chatsworth.org/thedog.

Sotheby's is a proud sponsor of this exhibition.

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