O riginally part of a larger suite of furniture depicted in this watercolor by William Hunt in 1822, this pair of armchairs provides an insight into how items in the Devonshire Collection have moved between the family’s many properties. Commissioned for the saloon at Devonshire House in London, these chairs are in use today in the library at Chatsworth.
In 2010, a large collection of upholstery fabric, including trimmings, was rediscovered in a textile store and the Hunt watercolor helped identify what the original fabric would have looked like. This suite of furniture had been reupholstered with a fawn colored silk which was starting to degrade. Upon discover of the original upholstery cloth and trimmings it was decided to put the suite back to how it was in 1822. The canary yellow and cobalt blue silk and the arch braid trimmings were made using the original documents from the collection as the source material.
Chatsworth is home to one of the greatest private libraries in the UK. Over time, the library has expanded greatly in size and scope as the result of family collecting: editions of poetry and fiction take their place alongside well-thumbed reference books from the library of scientist Henry Cavendish (1731-1810), important architectural books owned by the 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), and sumptuous volumes acquired by the family’s greatest bibliophile, the 6th Duke of Devonshire himself.