Sunday, 2 December 2007

Christmas at Chatsworth

Chatsworth House is open for Christmas from 3rd November to 23rd December with the rooms decorated for Christmas, a Christmas market and a great Christmas lunch in the restaurant. I was particularly keen to go before the house closed for the season (it re-opens in March 2008) because I wanted to see the exhibition about the 11th Duke of Devonshire 'An extraordinary 20th century life' . The 11th Duke was married to one of the Mitford sisters 'Debo' and I've been reading various Mitford biographies, autobiographies (Hons and Rebels) and letters (Decca) since reading a book review of 'Decca' in the Times last year.

When we arrived at Chatsworth the programme for the day had a photocopied insert saying that the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire would be signing books in the restaurant after lunch. It was the highlight of my day. I bought two copies of the most recent book of letters between the six sisters, one for myself and one for my Dad, and had them both dedicated and signed by the Dowager Duchess who is the only survivingMitford sister.

One of the most startling features of the house is the enormous Damien Hirst statue of the Virgin Mother which is over two storeys high and towers over the visitor entrance to the house. I'm not sure if it is a permanent or temporary feature but I'd like to go back to Chatsworth next summer when the weather is a bit more conducive to exploring the sculpures in the garden.

No comments: