Friday, March 30, 2012


Anonymous, An Emblem of a Modern Marriage, 1775

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chatsworth Reopens this Weekend after Thorough Cleaning

Going, going, gone!
On 11 March Chatsworth will reopen to begin the 2012 tourist season after extensive restorations.  While Chatsworth has seen many restorations and alterations over the years this £14m project strives to bring the great house back to how it looked when Georgiana's son, Hart lived there in the early 19th century.  The most breath-taking aspect of the project is the restoration of the limescale facade, making the house lighter, brighter, and dare I say, more glorious?  I encourage you to check it out here in the BBC video.

The new, improved facade

Aside from the facade, gilded flames have been added to the roof.  Apparently all those urn sculptures up there were supposed to look like they had eternal flames springing out of them.  It just leaves one to wonder when those flames began disappearing!

One of the other remarkable undertakings has to do with Hart's sculpture gallery.  You may remember this amazing collection from Pride and Prejudice 2005 when Lizzie is viewing marble sculptures and comes across a bust of Mr Darcy.  These have now all been rearranged in the way Hart originally had them.

The new transformation lets guests see just how the 6th Duke lived.  Although Georgiana fans may be disappointed that the restoration didn't aim for just a teensy bit earlier to base the remodeling on, we have to remember Chatsworth was Hart's baby!  Georgiana's fingerprints were on Devonshire House in London which was unfortunately torn down.  Sadly, she did not leave as much of a mark on Chatsworth as her son- who did many wonderful things to the house while preserving its heritage.  The house reopens this Sunday and will be sure to be an even more splendid outing than before- as hard as that is to believe!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yinka Shonibare

I'm long overdue in a post on the amazing contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare whose work is as breathtaking as it is thought-provoking.  Shonibare is a London sculptural and instillation artist who deals with the theme of class and globalization, more specifically the complicated relationship between Africa and Europe.  So you will often seen African-style textiles on his sculptures which take the form of something commonly European. 

Long before he had his giant Ship in a Bottle sculpture in Trafalgar Square, Shonibare was playing with eighteenth century imagery, with astonishing results:

Here are some of his work that reference eighteenth century paintings.  Can you recognize all of them?

Others are just plain fantastic: