Chatsworth House treasures take up residence at Sotheby’s New York

Art and objects from the storied collection will go on display in Manhattan

Lucian Freud’s Woman in a White Shirt, 1958-1960
Lucian Freud’s Woman in a White Shirt, 1958-1960

A rare showcase of the Duke of Devonshire’s personal collection of art and objects is set to debut at Sotheby’s in New York on Friday June 28. Treasures from Chatsworth is an immersive, museum-style exhibition, spanning some 500 years, highlighting everything from Old Master drawings to contemporary ceramics, as well as exceptional furnishings, pieces of commemorative jewellery and assorted memorabilia.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Leda and the Swan, c1505
Leonardo da Vinci’s Leda and the Swan, c1505

Housed within Sotheby’s newly expanded galleries, the exhibition promises to bring the stately home to life, right down to the surrounding grounds depicted in pastoral landscapes. Among the masterworks on display will be Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait of an Old Man – a highly detailed work from 1651 – and Lucian Freud’s Woman in a White Shirt and Portrait of a Man – a pair of paintings that illustrate the close relationship between the leading 20th-century artist and Deborah and Andrew Cavendish, the 11th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Other highlights include the Devonshire Parure – a seven-piece jewellery set, complete with tiara, that was commissioned by William, 6th Duke of Devonshire, and is one of the most precious collections of gems still in private hands. There’s also the Peeress Robe, a rich red velvet garment from the 1830s worn by Duchess Deborah to the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

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Equally intriguing are the artworks and objects for sale in Inspired by Chatsworth, a comprehensive amassment that will be on view over the same period in Sotheby’s third-floor galleries. Paintings such as Giovanni Paolo Panini’s A Panoramic View of St Peter’s Square, Rome ($1,950,000) and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s La Ville et Lac de Côme ($1,500,000) are included, as are contemporary ceramics by Felicity Aylieff and a Roman micromosaic table on a gilt bronze tripod base, Vatican Workshops, from the mid 19th century. This last, a brilliantly coloured inlaid-tesserae table, was originally presented to King George V and Queen Marie of Hanover, circa 1850-60, and features an elaborate floral motif that was sought after by Grand Tour travellers.

Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait of an Old Man, 1651
Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait of an Old Man, 1651

“In Inspired by Chatsworth, we have tried to assemble a collection that represents the extraordinary pieces found at Chatsworth House,” says George Wachter, chairman of Sotheby’s America. “There’s a commanding Frans Hals portrait [over $6,000,000], as well as a selection of decorative arts, from a beautiful set of Meissen birds [$900,000] modelled by Kändler to a Louis XIV silver soup tureen [$1,135,000] made by Antoine Boullier for the Duke de Mortemart. Adrian Sassoon [art advisor to the present Duke of Devonshire] has also provided an extraordinary selection of objets d’art by Hiroshi Suzuki, Junko Mori and Pippin Drysdale, some of whose work can be seen at Chatsworth today.”

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s La Ville et le Lac de Côme, $1.5m, which is part of the Inspired by Chatsworth collection
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s La Ville et le Lac de Côme, $1.5m, which is part of the Inspired by Chatsworth collection

For the simply curious and the dedicated connoisseur alike, Treasures from Chatsworth and Inspired by Chatsworth offer a chance to be transported from bustling Manhattan to bucolic Derbyshire for the day.

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