Sharing the Devonshire Collections

One of the Chatsworth House Trust’s charitable objectives is to ensure the collections here at Chatsworth are seen by as many people as possible, both nationally and internationally. Our curators receive a large number of loan applications each year, ranging from individual items to numerous paintings, sculptures and tapestries all to help enhance our fellow institutions’ exhibitions.

In 2019, 77 works of art were loaned to 14 exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the USA enabling over 600,000 visitors to see items from the Devonshire Collections outside of Chatsworth.

This year, we currently have items on loan to three major exhibitions.  We have loaned over 50 Old Master Drawings to Millennium Gallery, Sheffield for the exhibition Lines of Beauty: Master Drawings from Chatsworth. The exhibition displays works from some of the most prominent artists of the 15th to 17th centuries including Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck. Opportunities such as this to see these drawings en-masse are extremely limited due to the need to safeguard these delicate works from light damage. As such, only a small selection are usually available to view at any one time. This free exhibition is on until 25 May 2020.

The task of moving and packing items on loan can sometimes require the strangest of objects. For example a giant cardboard roller, a human hairdryer, pliers, rubber-ended hammers, a wrench and a big empty floor were all required to roll the over-large Siberechts painting, A view of Chatsworth from the East, in order for it to be manoeuvred onto a specialist art lorry for its journey to London. The painting alongside the much-loved  trompe l'oeil violin door, by Jan van der Vaardt, will be on display at Tate Britain as part of the exhibition British Baroque – Power and illusion until 19 April 2020 (a replica door will be in position until it returns).

Now in its last week, The Wounded Achilles by Filippo Albacini, normally displayed within the Sculpture Gallery, is on loan to the British Museum as part of the exhibition Troy – myth and reality; it is not only one of the highlights of the show, but the lead image for the exhibition. The installation gives visitors a full history of the Trojan War, the city of Troy as well as Achilles and the myth behind his weakest point. Hugely popular in the 19th Century, the neoclassical sculpture of Achilles by Albacini shows the romanticism that surrounded this mythical figure. In more recent years Achilles has become a “heroic justification” of the sacrifice made of soldiers around the world and the brutality of war. The exhibition runs until 8 March 2020.

In order to achieve our charitable objectives, which includes sharing the Devonshire Collections as widely as possible, we rely upon visitor admission to the house, garden and farmyard, the Friends and Patrons of Chatsworth programmes as well as sponsorship and grant funding.

If you would be interested in getting more involved with the work of the Chatsworth House Trust and understanding more about how we care for Chatsworth and the collections, you may be interested in joining our Patrons scheme.

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