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Treasures from Chatsworth

Treasure of the Week: A Pair of Regency Armchairs

By Sotheby's
The Devonshire Collection encompasses thousands of objects that have been carefully collected over 500 years. Because of this extraordinary breadth, choosing the 43 pieces that would travel to Sotheby's New York as part of the Treasures from Chatsworth exhibition was a challenging feat. Spotlighted here is a Pair of Regency Armchairs, an exceptional example of the collection's dazzling furniture selection.
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On display at the Chatsworth House, Morel & Hughes, Pair of Regency Armchairs, circa 1822. European beech and parcel-gilt.

 

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.

Images from left to right: The library at Chatsworth House, featuring Morel & Hughes, Pair of Regency Armchairs, circa 1822. William Hunt's Watercolor of the Saloon at Devonshire House in London, featuring Pair of Regency Armchairs, 1822.

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.

The Regency Armchairs from All Angles

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Pair of Regency Armchairs on DISPLAY AT THE CHATSWORTH EXHIBITION, SOTHEBY'S NEW YORK. Photos: JULIAN CASSADY.

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