The Grand Tour (Part 4): Chatsworth House

The Grand Tour originally took place in the 17th – 19th centuries for rich travellers so they could become ‘cultured’. The tour took them across the globe, from England to Italy and Greece. For the modern day traveller however, this has been narrowed down to the much more accessible local region. The tour now utilises four popular arts venues in the East Midlands: The Nottingham Contemporary, The Harley Gallery (Nottinghamshire), Derby Museums, and Chatsworth House (Derbyshire) to showcase the best of culture and arts our region has to offer. It will be presented over two seasons, 4 July – 20 September 2015 and March – July 2016.

The final instalment of The Grand Tour, involves a trip to Chatsworth, the grand stately home belonging to the Duke of Devonshire and known as one of the ten ‘Treasure Houses’ of England. The exhibition at Chatsworth ‘Pablo Bronstein at Chatsworth’ –the artist’s first of its kind in England–corresponds with Nottingham Contemporary’s exhibit. In my opinion, this pairing is the most effective aspect of the Grand Tour.

The surroundings of this most grand country estate are enough to astound and entrance the visitor before they have encountered the actual exhibition. From rare artworks by a variety of masters, to sculpture, Egyptian carvings and a massive number of rare and antiquated books; Chatsworth creates the impression of a most sumptuous palace and is definitely not to be missed.

Chatsworth creates the impression of a most sumptuous palace

The first of the two Grand Tour exhibitions at this venue is contained in the State Closet, which features a collection of six Old Master drawings, selected and curated by Bronstein, and featured alongside his own contemporary artwork ‘Decorative Scheme for the Chatsworth Rembrandt’. No coincidence then, that alongside these artworks, a Rembrandt entitled ‘Man in Oriental Costume’ is permanently exhibited – just one of the many treasures of Chatsworth!

Interested in the architecture of the baroque and neo-classicist periods, Bronstein uses pen and ink to create talented, architectural-style artworks with an often colourful twist that are simply amazing to behold. A selection of many other Bronstein works are also displayed in the New Gallery, collected loosely in the categories, Repair, Creation, and Destruction which seek to explore the idea that architecture is a product of society and changes with its whims.

Of all the Grand Tour venues, this is undoubtedly the grandest

As lovers of modern art, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire have also commissioned a variety of artists to create the wonderful exhibit throughout the house ‘Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth’ running until the 23rd October. This exploration of chairs has created weird and wonderful interpretations of seating which correspond to areas in the house, and it was intriguing trying to guess which room or style chair was coming up next.

Although Chatsworth charges a fee to gain entrance into the house, this also includes admittance to its large gardens and grounds, enabling the visitor to explore not only the fantastic treasures inside, but also the famous sculptures and contemporary exhibitions the Duke and Duchess are so fond of displayed outside. It is also worth noting the entrance fee goes towards the actual upkeep of the house which makes every penny worthwhile. Of all the Grand Tour venues, this is undoubtedly the grandest and is a must-see for any self-proclaimed culture vulture.

Amy Wilcockson

Image credited to Hugo Glendinning (c) titled ‘Pablo Bronstein at Chatsworth as part of the Grand Tour’

For more information about The Grand Tour, see here

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