Contemporary Ceramics at Chatsworth

The Dukes of Devonshire have long been collectors of ceramics and pottery. The current Duke has continued the tradition. and  there are a number of ceramic works on display in the public areas of Chatsworth.

Edmund du Waal’s A Sounding Linem a work comprising 52 porcelain vessels in 5 celadon glazes and 14 thrown porcelain vessels in 5 white glazes is installed in the fireplaces and high corbels of the Chapel Corridor.


At first glance, especially when viewed during the Luminaire event, they all appeared the same off-white colour. But closer inspection during the daytime revealed subtle variations in shade. Like much of his work the pots have a Japanese, Zen-like quality.

These two abstract forms were also displayed in the Chapel corridor. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the artist.


This large scale pot located on the landing at the topof the flight of stairs from the Painted Hall is Chinese Ladders by Felicity Aylieff . The form and design of the pot is inspired by the structure of bamboo scaffolding used by builders in China.


In the State rooms, and elsewhere in the house, were a number of installations by the Australian artist, Pippin Drysdale. With interesting surface textures and vibrant colours her works are inspired by the landscapes of her native country.




This stunning installation is fixed to the walls of the North Sketch gallery.


Created by the artist Jacob van der Beugel, the work represents the DNA profiles of the the Duke and some members of his family. The Chatsworth website tells us that the:

Raised ceramic blocks represent the DNA strand of ‘Everyman’ in the central portrait, which is flanked by the personal DNA profiles of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, their son Lord Burlington and his wife, Lady Burlington.

DNA samples were taken from members of the Devonshire family and the results were translated onto ceramic panels, while aspects of each individual’s personality are captured on glazed pieces in their DNA sequence


This is how it looked during the Luminaire event, lit up with candles.


There are 659 warm, ochre coloured panels making up a large work, approximately 20m long x3m wide x4m high all along one of the walls of the long  narrow room.  The other wall is covered with mirrors which reflect the panels.


Overall a stunning contemporary work of art.

Modern Art at Chatsworth

In the past the aristocracy acted as patrons of the arts, buying and commissioning works by contemporary artists and building large collections. The current Duke of Devonshire has continued this tradition. Walking through the gardens at Chatsworth we came across a number of modern works.

This couldn’t be by anyone else but Richard Long. The Cornwall Slate Line is imaginatively sited running parallel to the canal.



There are several works by Elisabeth Frink. War Horse is appropriately sited in the stables courtyard.


This is her Lying Down Horse


Here’s a copy of one of her heads – I’ve seen a few other versions of this



This is a bust of Elisabeth Frink, a tribute by fellow artist Angela Conner


This Art Nouveau style gateway is in the hedge near the maze. I couldn’t find any information on it’s creator.


This is unmistakeably by Barry Flanagan. The drummer – a version of which stands outside the entrance to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.



A site specific work by David Nash, made of charred wood – Forms that grow in the night.



This is Dejeuner sur l’Herbe by the British sculptor, Allen Jones



There’s modern art displayed in the public areas of the house too. ‘This is Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain’ by Damien Hirst which is currently on semi-permanent display in Chatsworth’s sseventeenth century chapel. At first glance it looked as if it was contemporary to the chapel itself. But closer inspection revealed subtleties that gave the game away,such as the wooden table the statue is standing on.


This is a piece by Anthony Caro.


Another work by Alan Jones his life-size sculpture Carefree Man stands in front of Chinese Ladders by Felicity Aylieff . The form and design of this pot is inspired by the structure of bamboo scaffolding used by builders in China.