Chatsworth : The House

By (author) The Duchess of Devonshire , Photographs by Simon Upton

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Chatsworth is one of England's ten most visited great houses. In this tour of the house, Deborah Duchess of Devonshire takes the reader into the private as well as the public rooms, and goes behind the scenes to explain the management of the household and the work of the staff needed to keep it going. To visit the Chatsworth website click

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  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 258 x 298 x 12mm | 1,439.98g
  • 01 Sep 2002
  • Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • 200 colour photographs and archive illustrations
  • 0711216754
  • 9780711216754
  • 180,413

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Author Information

Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire is the youngest of the seven children of the second Baron Redesdale and sister of the writers Nancy and Jessica Mitford and Diana Mosley. The Duke and Duchess lived at Chatsworth from 1950 on and lovingly restored the house and gardens. Simon Upton is a photographer specialising in interiors and portrait photography. He has contributed to many books and his work appears in Vogue, Tatler, World of Interiors, Harpers and Queen, House and Garden and other publications.

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Review quote

Enjoy the Duchess of Devonshire's highly personal account of what it's like to live at Chatsworth. With the warmth and wit you expect from one of the Mitford sisters, it transcends any run-of-the-mill guidebook BBC Homes & Antiques ... an intellectual and visual treat Period Living As a souvenir of a visit to Chatsworth this beautiful book is flawless; as an insight into the life of a great stately home it is indispensable Beautiful Britain

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Review text

The end-papers of this gorgeous book show the family tree of the Cavendish family from 1505 and the Public Route of Chatsworth House (27 rooms), and both these aspects of Chatsworth, which is 'a conglomeration of styles and periods, furniture and decoration', are admirably expanded within this lively, personal and thoroughly researched book by the Duchess of Devonshire. Another large section of the book is given over to her vivid and anecdotal account of over 30 of the private rooms, which form a stately home within a stately home, with the addition of family clutter, plastic lamps and overflowing cardboard boxes. Public curiosity about how Chatsworth works led to a 'Behind the Scenes' tour in 1996, and the last few pages describe the work of the household. The full-time staff numbered 72 in 1938, down to 59 in 2001, as well as 83 seasonal and 26 part-time workers. One would expect a large book about one of England's grandest houses to contain fine illustrations, but Simon Upton has not only produced 200 photographs of breathtaking beauty and clarity, but also many of original charm, such as one of the Duchess serene in the jumble of the North Attics, the ornate 18th-century theatre, now used as a textile restoration room, and contrasting views of the library, by day and by night. An excellent full-page photograph of the sculpture library is followed by the near-tactile delights of eight smaller ones of individual sculptures. Many similar detailed shots, such as the passementerie on a Regency sofa cushion, and Grinling Gibbons's carved cravat on the Oak Stairs, are as magnificent as the near-panoramic views of the Painted Hall, or the cunning double-spread of the view over the gardens to the River Derwent from the Duchess's bedroom. Many black-and-white archive photos and early paintings, skilfully juxtaposed, lend historical perspective to the magnificent present-day room settings. The Duchess of Devonshire has an intimate and wide-ranging knowledge of every aspect of this palatial house about which endless decisions have to be made. She concludes by describing herself as 'a housewife'. Some housewife! Some house! (Kirkus UK)

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by Fleur Beveridge