Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth

During our recent visit to Chatsworth we bought a combined House and Garden ticket for although our main motivation for visiting was to see the Beyond Limits exhibition in he gardens, we also wanted to have another look around the house to revisit the collection of Modern Art on display. We’d also read that there was an exhibition of contemporary seating taking place. Initially I wasn’t sure it would be of much interest, but, as it happened, I was wrong!

The Chatsworth website told us that:

Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth will see items from the private collection of the Duke and Duchess showcased alongside furniture by internationally acclaimed and innovative designers – from Thomas Heatherwick and Amanda Levete, to Marc Newson, Tokujin Yoshioka, Piet Hein Eek and Moritz Waldemeyer. The exhibition will also showcase thought-provoking, specially commissioned pieces, including Raw Edges’ End Grain seating which will become part of the Sculpture Gallery, and Synthesis IV by emerging designer Tom Price which will be on display in the Chapel.

Chairs and other types of seating were positioned around the house and visitors were allowed to take advantage of them, try them out and rest their legs for a while.

Some of the chairs were very comfortable


Others less so!


These were the first we saw. Designed to spin around so you could view the painted ceiling in the entrance hall (if you didn’t lose you balance and fall off!)


These were chairs designed for readers (I think Milady would like these)




A bench made of coal


and one of resin infused with bitumen


both reflecting the Dukes of Devonshire’s association with the mineral extraction industries.

Some others we saw









Towards the end of the tour of the house, in the dining room, around the large dining table there were chairs designed by students from Sheffield




Finally, in the sculpture hall a very interesting collection specially created for the exhibition

(an) indoor landscape created by Raw Edges in the Sculpture Gallery, where benches and stools emerge like tree trunks from the coloured grid-like floor and offer new perspectives of the sculptures.


DSC07089 DSC07093

Beyond Limits 2015


Last year we visited the annual exhibition of sculpture organised by Sotheby’s in the grounds at Chatsworth. We enjoyed it so decided to visit again this year. So last Saturday we drove over to Chatsworth and spent a pleasant, sunny, autumn afternoon wandering around the grounds.

This year’s exhibition was the tenth and to celebrate Sotheby’s invited Tim Marlow, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy and well known as a TV pundit, to be guest curator.

For this year’s ‘Beyond Limits,’ Marlow has organized an impressive array of British sculpture from 1950 to the present. His choices reflect the seismic shifts in British art, a journey in 30 sculptures from such totemic figures as Anthony Caro to contemporary artists like Sarah Lucas.

There weren’t so many works by unfamiliar, new talents on show, which was a little disappointing. It’s always good to make new discoveres. I did like the Hepworth pieces (always do) which were nicely sited although they were familiar works – the one from the Family of Man especially, they have a full set at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I thought he cheated, too, by including some of Chatsworth’s own pieces that are permanantly of display – the Richard Long Cornish Slate path and the Barry Flanagan Hare. But, overall, we enjoyed it and had good weather too.

A Walk Down Great Langdale


Last Saturday our friend Pam who was over from Tasmania had arranged to come over to see us for the day. She’s a keen outdoors type an so had suggested we might go for a walk up in the Lake District. The weather forecast was mixed with heavy rain overnight and travelling north on Saturday morning. But a window of finer weather was predicted for the afternoon before rain returning in the evening – and that’s the way it turned out.

So it was back up the M6 again. We decided to call in to Blackwell for something to eat, and to show Pam the house, while the rain passed over.

The house had been given a fresh coat of paint since the last time we were there (only a couple of months ago).


After a delicious light lunch and a tour of the house we set off. We’d decided not to risk the high hills but to take a low level walk which we could extend if the weather lived up to expectations. So we drove up past Amleside, parking up just after Skelwith Bridge and set off for a walk down Great Langdale, following the River Brathay


We walked past Elterwater with views of the mountains, crowned with grey cloud, opening up


past Elterwater village



The sun began to peek out from behind the clouds


We could see the Langdale Pikes in the distance


We carried on down the valley



Eventually we reached the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel where we stopped for a brew.




Refreshed, we set off back down the valley



Looking back from near Elterwater quarry


Reaching Elterwater village we stopped off for our tea in the Britannia Inn


Lamb hot pot with black pudding for me


And very nice it was too.

Setting back to the car it was starting to go dark and the rain that was forecast was starting to arrive. With the nights starting to draw in, it was dark by the time we got back tot he car- ours was the only one left on the car park. Less than two hours later we were back home after a good day walking and catching up with an old friend.



Sculpture by Ted Roocroft (1918-1993) in the Roman Fort Gardens, Castlefield, Manchester. The artist was was a pig farmer turned sculptor and was known for his animal sculptures. It was deliberately mounted low to be “accessible to the public”, so inevitably it became damaged. Roocroft died in 1993, but his work was repaired by two of his friends and pupils in 2011.

Castlefield Canals


Having spent a few days wandering along the canals in Amsterdam, last Saturday we decided to take a few hours to explore the tow paths a little nearer to home, in Castlefield in the centre of Manchester.




Castlefield is the place where Manchester originated as it was here that the Romans established their fort and settlement of Mancunium. In 1765, the Bridgewater Canal, the first of the canals built during England’s Industrial Revolution was opened at Castlefield, creating a level link by water between the Duke of Bridgewater’s coal mines at Worsley and the centre of Manchester. At Castlefield Junction the canal linked into a stretch of the River Medlock that had been incorporated into the canal and used as the basin for the canal wharves. The Rochdale canal was connected to the Bridgewater canal here in 1805.


The first passenger railway between Liverpool and Manchester was opened in 1830 and terminated nearby in Liverpool Road. Later a number of other lines were built which crossed the canals in Castlefield on a series of bridges.



As the canals fell out of use and the warehouses closed the area became derelict, but in recent years renovation of some of the old buildings and redevelopment with construction of flats and offices has regenerated the area.





It’s quiet and peaceful walking along the quays and tow paths, looking at the boats and other people enjoying walking by the water. It was hard to believe that we were in the centre of Manchester, only a few hundred metres away from the hustle and bustle on Deansgate – and the Beetham tower was visible from many parts of the area.



This drawbridge over the canal near the quay reminded me of those in Amsterdam