Chatsworth (8)

Having burdened my readers with multiple posts about Chatsworth last week, and particularly about the garden statuary, I am now able to say, thanks to information supplied by the Chatsworth archive, that none of the statues I photographed are from the original garden layout.   The original statues were presumably cleared away in the fashion for the picturesque later in the eighteenth century.   Those that are in the garden now were all bought by the sixth Duke who was a passionate and knowledgeable collector of sculpture both for his Sculpture Gallery and outdoors.

Diana and Apollo are recorded as being on the South Lawn in the sixth Duke’s diary on 20 February 1841.   They were bought from Francesco Bienaimé on 2 March 1841 (£100 each):-

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Chatsworth (7)

In trying to find out who was responsible for the statuary in the gardens of Chatsworth, I have realised that one of the key people in the decorative carving on the house was Henri Nadauld, a Huguenot stone carver who I first came across in the accounts at Castle Howard as Mr. Nedos.   At Castle Howard he was responsible for the statues on the pediment and work in Ray Wood.   At Chatsworth, he was paid for the carving of Cleopatra (£22), Antonius (another £22), Mars (£36) and the Muses.   In 1702, he was paid £114 10s for ‘Ornaments in frieze and around windows over entrance, cyphers and coronets on 4 keystones in middle windows’, so he was presumably responsible for the magnificent ornamental detailing on the West Front:-

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Chatsworth (6)

At least I think I have found out the history of the great Sleeping Lions at the far end of the Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth.   They were bought by the 6th. Duke from Rinaldo Rinaldi and Francesco Benaglia shortly after Canova’s death in 1822 .   They cost 1,100 scudi and are copies of Canova’s lions on the base of his monument to Pope Clement XIII Rezzonico in St. Peter’s:-

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Chatsworth (5)

Today, in the brilliant sun, I became interested in the quality and range of the original garden statuary.   I’ve found it hard to find out about them.   Caius Gabriel Cibber was paid to supply Flora, Diana, Venus and other classical subjects between 1687 and 1690 and an otherwise unknown sculptor, Augustine Harris, was paid £44 18s. 6d. in 1688 for seven statues.   But some look later.   They presumably provided ornament and diversion to the original formal gardens, mostly as copies of famous antique sculptures (see Haskell and Penny).   Any further information and identification would be gratefully received:-

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Chatsworth (4)

The first talk of the morning was the Duke of Devonshire talking about the evolution of his taste and what he is doing in terms of the acquisition of contemporary art at Chatsworth.   He gave a robust description of his interest in contemporary art, influenced by his father’s decision to commission a portrait of his wife by Lucian Freud in 1958 and they way they ignored the criticism of their friends and by his parents-in-law who lived in a flat designed by Chermayeff in Chelsea.   Then as a student he discovered contemporary work in Kasmin’s Gallery, but now contecentrates more on furniture and ceramics.   I found it intriguing hearing a description of the difference in attitude between his father (and his generation) who concentrated on the task of preservation and protection after the depredations of the war and the current Duke’s generation which is as interested in making its own contribution through a process of organic change.

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Chatsworth (3)

I slept as near as could be to the Sabine Room, one of the state rooms on the third floor on the west front, which was decorated not by Verrio and Laguerre, who had been employed in the previous phases of construction, but by James Thornhill.   Thornhill was unusual at this period in being English, born to a Dorset gentry family in 1675, apprenticed to Thomas Highmore, and completing his apprenticeship in 1696.   This is one of the grandest of his decorative schemes, painted with much more flair and vigour than I would have expected from him, and depicting the Rape of the Sabine Women.   It was done in 1706, just before he was commissioned to paint the hall at Greenwich Hospital, and before the death of the first Duke.

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Chatsworth (2)

One of the pleasures of attending the Chatsworth Arts Festival, Art Out Loud, is the opportunity to explore the grounds in between sessions.   I have never really had a chance to appreciate the great West Front, which one sees from across the river and was designed post-Talman, possibly by Archer, or even the first Duke himself:-

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