Victoria’s Bicentenary – A Review of Victoria series 3 (ITV) and Lucy Worsley’s Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow

2019 marks the bicentenary of Victoria and Albert’s births. There have already been books published, conferences as well as documentaries that attempts to shed new light or even (disappointingly) rehash the same old myths and out-dated information on the royal couple’s life and crucially that of Victoria’s life and reign.

After a hiatus in 2018, ITV’s popular drama Victoria made a return this year and this time is set between 1848 and 1851. By the time series 3 opens, Victoria and Albert already have five children (Victoria, Albert Edward, Alice, Alfred and Helena) and she will go on give birth to two more (Louise and Arthur). Also, Albert by this time has, not without some difficulty, also established himself as the power behind the throne. While I have not had the time to do my customary fortnightly recaps, here are some of the thoughts I assembled while watching the programme:

(For more detailed recaps, please visit the Armchair Anglophile)

THE GOOD:

  1. The royal children especially Vicky and Bertie – while the programme took care to show the (still growing) family, the main focal point was Vicky (Princess Royal) and Bertie (Prince of Wales) who would have been eight and seven in 1848. The characterisations of the two oldest children are spot on, with Vicky showing the precociousness that would mark her as Albert’s favourite child. Bertie on the other hand while aware of his destiny isn’t happy; he tells anyone who is listening that he doesn’t want to be king and that Vicky being the eldest should be the sovereign.Bertie’s tantrums about not wanting to be king are the least of his parents’ worries. While the bright Vicky doesn’t need pushing and cajoling with her lessons and her ability to absorb and retain knowledge, Bertie’s progress is slow and wanting compared to his sister. In desperation, Victoria and Albert consult a phrenologist George Coombe who studies Bertie’s head and the verdict isn’t good, as Coombe delivered his verdict: “The feeble quality of the brain will render the Prince highly excitable… intellectual organs are only moderately well developed. The result will be strong self-will, at times obstinacy.” While phrenology is now dismissed as a pseudo-science, Coombe’s verdict in some aspects would be eerily accurate.

 

  1. The Great Exhibition – series 3 concluded with the events leading to the Great Exhibition in 1851 and the final scene where Victoria, Albert and the rest of the family arrive at the Crystal Palace to officially open the exhibition was well done. It was obvious that the production designers did their research and studied contemporary accounts and illustrations in order to recreate that event.

 

THE BAD/INDIFFERENT:

  1. Mrs Skerrett – the way her character has been written was pure soap and series 3 was no different especially with the way she was written out. The real Mrs Skerrett actually never married and lived to a ripe old age; apart from being Victoria’s chief dresser she was also in charge of the junior ones and was the principal liaison between the Queen and milliners, dressmakers and jewellers. Crucially she also liaised with artists such as Edwin Landseer and William Powell Frith with regards to commissions for paintings. Still Nell Hudson’s portrayal of the kindly and competent dresser was for me well done and kudos to the writer for making the relationship between Skerrett and Victoria at least believable.

 

  1. Sophie Duchess of Monmouth – series 3 saw the introduction of a new Mistress of the Robes for Victoria in the person of Sophie Duchess of Monmouth (Lily Travers). I find the introduction of a fictional lady-in-waiting baffling considering that in real life, Victoria had several interesting women who attended to her: most notably Charlotte Countess Canning, who was married to George Earl Canning who was governor-general (and later first viceroy) of India. Charlotte kept up a correspondence with the Queen even after leaving royal service to join her husband in his Indian posting, and her letters provided Victoria with information about India from a woman’s perspective; which would have been absent in official documents sent by the government in India. The fictional Duchess of Monmouth’s background however is interesting as she’s revealed to be the daughter of a man who made his wealth in trade and that the Duke of Monmouth married her in order to save his crumbling estate and precarious finances, thus demonstrating an early example of the old landed aristocracy in alliance with the new industrial elite. The marriage is unsurprisingly unhappy and the duke always finds an excuse to belittle his wife for her inferior social background; something that the Queen is happy to overlook (again showing her lack of social as well as racial prejudice). Credit also to Daisy Goodwin for not writing Sophie as the stereotypical nouveau riche vulgarian and instead portray her as someone who is doing her best and is a devoted mother. In an interesting twist, part of the Monmouths’ storyline could be seen as a foreshadowing of the real life Mordaunts whose divorce would embroil the future Edward VII in scandal.

 

THE UGLY:

  1. The ropey timeline – while I acknowledge that certain events have to be condensed for dramatic purposes, the timeline leaves a lot to be desired. The cholera epidemic is one example, while this series is set between 1848 and 1851, the “Great Stink,” as the epidemic would be known, did not occur until 1858 and led to the pioneering work of Dr John Snow, who established the cholera was a water borne disease – not airborne as has been previously believed. Another is that of Sir Joseph Bazalgette whose design of a new sewage system for London would ensure that there would be no future repeats of the Great Stink of 1858.

 

  1. Princess Feodora – while the Duchess of Kent was MIA in series 3, her place was taken over by Victoria’s half-sister Princess Feodora of Hohenloe-Langenburg (Kate Fleetwood) who is depicted in the programme as arriving in Britain in the wake of the Revolution of 1848. While it’s nice to see more of Victoria’s family, my main objection is the way Feodora has been written and portrayed – the jealous sister who is a mainstay in fairy tales and soap operas. She causes mischief at court, attempts to drive a wedge between Victoria and Albert and is bitter about what she sees as Victoria’s good fortune. The Feodora we see in Victoria is the latest in a line of pantomime villains after Conroy and the Duke of Cumberland in the first two series. The real Princess Feodora (1807-1872) was no such person; despite the 11 year age gap between them she and Victoria were close all their lives and the fact that they were only half-siblings never occurred to them. Victoria was devastated when Feodora left in 1828 to marry an impoverished German prince Ernst of Hohenloe-Langenburg. The two sisters corresponded avidly and Feodora proved to be a source of advice and solace for Victoria especially after Albert’s death in 1861. Victoria meanwhile would help support Feodora’s children, the most notable being Prince Victor of Hohenloe-Langenburg (1833-1891) who settled in Britain as a naval officer and a noted sculptor.

 

  1. Lord Palmerston – in series 3 is played by Laurence Fox who is too young to portray the wily Foreign Secretary, and I believe this was a failed attempt to recapture the buzz that surrounded Rufus Sewell’s portrayal of Lord Melbourne in the first two series. Lighting never strikes twice; while Sewell is a good actor who could convince viewers of Lord Melbourne as a younger, romantic figure, it doesn’t quite work with Fox whose portrayal of Palmerston sometimes descends into parody. Still Fox does make a passable effort of depicting the foreign secretary as an oily politician who happily styles himself as a man of the people and a champion of oppressed peoples abroad seeking freedom and liberalism while being an absentee landlord in Ireland and opposing further reforms at home. The real Palmerston has been described as a “Conservative at home and a Liberal abroad” but his tenure as Home Secretary and Prime Minister where he introduced further reforms to the Factory Act as well as changes to existing penal laws demonstrated that he could be radical as well by the standards of the time. However it is for his time as Foreign Secretary that he is best remembered, he famously declared that Britain had no permanent allies or enemies, only permanent interests, and his foreign policy was consistent with that maxim. His willingness to challenge even Queen Victoria and Prince Albert earned him their distrust but for his role in defending Britain’s interests abroad he received the affection and support of most of the press and public who called him “Pam”.

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Series 3 is pretty much consistent with what we’ve seen with Victoria – romance and soap opera mixed with history. Yet again there were also indifferent subplots that didn’t go anywhere and an upstairs-downstairs relationship which I think didn’t really add anything to the overall narrative. In the end, Victoria’s problem is that it’s not quite able to resolve what the drama wishes to focus on – history or romance. What we get is a muddled mix of both.

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Having written previously about life at court under the Georgians and Jane Austen, Lucy Worsley has now set her sights on Queen Victoria. Published last year with the paperback version released this year to coincide with the bicentenary, the question now is does Worsley have anything new to say about Britain’s second longest reigning monarch?

I’ve always admired Worsley more as a writer than as a TV presenter and having enjoyed her different take on Jane Austen’s life through the homes she lived in, and she employs almost the same tactic with her biography of Queen Victoria. Rather than to go through the whole gamut of Victoria’s life, Worsley takes twenty four significant events in Victoria’s life and there’s none of the predictable ones such as the birth of her children, the Great Exhibition, the years following Albert’s death or her relationship with her various prime ministers. Instead Victoria’s story starts with the double wedding of the Dukes of Clarence and Kent in 1818, then there are encounters with leading personalities of the era such as Florence Nightingale and the Maharajah Duleep Singh as well as her visit to Benjamin Disraeli at his home Hughenden Manor among others.

While Worsley had access to major archives especially the Royal Archives at Windsor where Queen Victoria’s diaries and letters are kept, she has also drawn heavily on recent works on Victoria with at least one or two of rather dubious nature. For instance Julia Baird is described as a historian but she’s not, a quick Google search would tell Worsley that Baird is a journalist whose biography Victoria the Queen is (in my opinion) not a very good one and doesn’t really add anything new to our knowledge or understanding of Victoria.

The book is a good read but I have a few concerns. First I found her chapters on Duleep Singh and the Munshi (Abdul Karim) to be highly simplistic; while I acknowledge that India and the raj might not be Worsley’s forte and beyond the scope of her tome, the section on Duleep Singh was truncated (or bitin, as I would muse in Filipino) while that on the Munshi was mostly a basic rehash of “white British racist, Indian victim” narrative when in reality it was far more complicated than that. Secondly, we don’t really have an explanation about Sir John Conroy, why was he so controlling? Did it ever cross his mind that perhaps being a benevolent father figure rather than a bully to the young Victoria might have brought him the recognition that he so desired? These are never answered much less raised and I seriously doubt we’ll ever know the answer.

On the positive side, Worsley brings out well parallelisms between Victoria and her mother the Duchess of Kent – both women lonely, in need of male company and frightfully insecure. Just as the Duchess had Conroy as her support, Victoria during her reign leaned heavily on a succession of men either as father figures (in the person of Lord Melbourne), as Gods who could do no wrong (Albert) or as confidants (Disraeli and John Brown). While this seems to make out Victoria as a weak person, Worsley argues that in many ways Victoria underestimated herself.

No more is this more apparent during her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. While this marriage has always been portrayed as one of domestic bliss and romance, in recent years, historians have attempted to reassess the couple’s relationship and unearth that it wasn’t all hearts and flowers. I’ve always long suspected and Worsley confirms that Victoria was always more in love with Albert than he with her. Despite their shared interests and Victoria’s obvious pride at Albert’s achievements, the marriage was also punctuated by blazing rows and a mass of seething resentments. All of these began early on when Albert chafed at not being allowed to share in Victoria’s duties and where he was not even allowed any say in the royal nursery. Victoria on the other hand resented the constant pregnancies and found motherhood especially when her children were babies distasteful.

One aspect of the marriage which Worsley brings up especially in the chapter on Osborne House was Albert’s desire for control and this Italianate house which he designed was his domain. If Victoria was ever aware of Albert’s controlling nature, she chose to overlook it and held him as the standard to which her children especially her sons should aspire. However, Albert was not always the superman his wife and history would look up to – during the Crimean War, Albert bombarded the government with numerous memorandums with suggestions as how to improve things which the government more or less ignored. Victoria roused herself to do what she can for the morale of the troops and encourage Florence Nightingale in her pioneering nursing work. She knitted comforts for the soldiers, wrote letters of condolence to the bereaved, inspected hospitals and gave her name to a medal that was to be awarded to all ranks for valour.

It was Victoria’s approach that worked and was much appreciated; her efforts during the Crimean War was one that her successors have continued to utilise ever since. It was a sign of Victoria’s “emotional intelligence” and to underscore that someone high up cared for the welfare of the ordinary soldier and person; not just as a matter of policy or popularity, but as a deep-felt and genuine emotional connection.

Victoria was a complex woman and while there are far more weightier tomes out there that delve into this monarch’s life in greater detail, even with these mere twenty-four events, Worsley has more or less succeeded in bringing this queen who gave her name to an era in all her contradictions in an accessible way.

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Some thoughts on Iolanthe

On the 24th of February, my husband and I went to the London Coliseum to watch the English National Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera Iolanthe, which the press release and programme notes mention is the first after 40 years. It was a packed matinee performance and it didn’t disappoint as the audience laughed along to the witty dialogue, physical comedy and catchy tunes with a bit of audience participation thrown in.

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Iolanthe or The Peer and Peri is one of many collaborations between composer Sir Arthur Sullivan and writer Sir W.S. Gilbert which included The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, The Mikado and Patience. In Iolanthe, the title character is a fairy recalled from her exile after breaking the law that forbade a fairy from consorting with a mortal. The sentence was originally death but the Fairy Queen had this commuted to exile on condition that she never sees her husband again. Iolanthe and her husband part but not before they manage to have a son – Strephon – who becomes a shepherd and who has no idea who his father is.

Twenty five years later, Strephon has fallen in love with Phyllis, a shepherdess, and proposed marriage to her but she is ward of the Chancery under the Lord Chancellor  and he has forbidden the match: declaring that Strephon is not a suitable match for Phyllis. There is also the added complication that the Lord Chancellor wants to make Phyllis his wife and further complicating matters is that several members of the House of Lords are also smitten with the young shepherdess. Strephon asks his mother for help and due to mistaken identity, an angry Phyllis breaks off the engagement and declares that she will consider marrying either Lord Tolloller or Lord Mountararat.

More chaos ensures as the Fairy Queen causes the election of Strephon as a Member of Parliament with his proposed bills passing through Parliament. One bill particularly alarms the House of Lords – a bill that would open the upper house based on merit to those who pass a competitive examination. The peers plead with the fairies to lift the curse but love is in the air as the fairies fall in love with the peers. Meanwhile Strephon learns that his father is the Lord Chancellor and Iolanthe risks death by revealing herself to the Lord Chancellor who is surprised to learn to his wife is still alive and that he has a son. The Fairy Queen arrives to carry out the punishment on Iolanthe for having violated the terms of her exile and then realises that she will have to carry out the same punishment on all the fairies. Everyone is saved by the Lord Chancellor who makes a legal intervention by adding a single word to existing fairy law –  “every fairy shall die who doesn’t marry a mortal.” With this, the Fairy Queen agrees and the peers rush off to join the fairies in fairy land.

Gilbert and Sullivan used their operas to poke fun at anyone and everyone in British society and there were no sacred cows for this duo. Everyone was fair game – politicians, the army, the aristocracy, the royals, civil servants, the law, fads and ideologies. With Iolanthe, both men returned to two targets that they had previously lampooned; the aristocracy and the law. One main theme that recurs time and again in Iolanthe is the absurdity of the hereditary system as embodied in the House of Lords. As one of the main characters, Lord Mountararat sings:

When Britain really ruled the waves –

(In good Queen Bess’s time)

The House of Peers made no pretence

To intellectual eminence,

Or scholarship sublime;

Yet Britain won her proudest bays

In good Queen Bess’s glorious days!

When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte,

As every child can tell,

The House of Peers, throughout the war,

Did nothing in particular,

And did it very well:

Yet Britain set the world ablaze

In good King George’s glorious days!

And while the House of Peers withholds

Its legislative hand,

And noble statesmen do not itch

To interfere with matters which

They do not understand,

As bright will shine Great Britain’s rays

As in King George’s glorious days!

The song itself belies Lord Mountararat’s self-awareness that he has reached where he is due to accident of birth. Not through hard work or pluck but simply because of who his antecedents were. By this point in real life the House of Commons was slowly opening up to men who had reached Parliament due to hard work and merit but the House of Lords remained entrenched in their ways and were resistant to any attempts at reform. When Strephon proposes to open the House of Lords to competitive examination, the number between the peers and Strephon seems to read as a premonition of the showdown between the Lords and the Commons that resulted into the Parliament Act of 1911:

PEERS:

Young Strephon is the kind of lout

We do not care a fig about!

We cannot say

What evils may

Result in consequence

But lordly vengeance will pursue

All kinds of common people who

Oppose our views,

Or boldly choose

To offer us offence.

FAIRIES, PHYLLIS, and STREPHON:

With Strephon for your foe, no doubt,

A fearful prospect opens out,

And who shall say

What evils may

Result in consequence?

A hideous vengeance will pursue

All noblemen who venture to

Oppose his views,

Or boldly choose

To offer him offence.

Of course in the opera, love conquers all as a change in the law allows the fairies and the mortals to marry each other without any fear of death. In real life, the peerage itself – already under assault by financial crises – would be dealt with more blows that perhaps not even Gilbert and Sullivan could have ever foreseen. However if both men were alive during the first half of the twentieth century, they would have certainly have found more material to lampoon the aristocracy and perhaps even P.G. Wodehouse would struggle to compete with Gilbert’s dialogue and Sullivan’s music.

However back to the ENO’s production – the acting and singing were spot on and under the direction of Cal MacCrystal who recently directed last year’s film hit Paddington 2, the acting and singing were anchored by touches of physical comedy, just enough but not overdoing it. This production has also remained faithful to how Gilbert and Sullivan envisioned it and mercifully, we have been spared any references to current events. Instead what we have is simply over two hours of sublime music and comedy. I hope that we won’t have to wait another 40 years for another staging of this classic.

 

The English National Opera’s porduction of Iolanthe is on at the London Coliseum until 7 April. For more information, please click on this link: https://www.eno.org/operas/iolanthe/ and https://www.eno.org/whats-on/iolanthe/

 

 

Revisiting Chatsworth and House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth

I first came across Chatsworth House while reading David Cannadine’s The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy and when I moved to the UK to do a postgraduate degree at the University of Manchester, one of the things on my list was to visit Chatsworth – which I finally did in 2006. I enjoyed my day trip so much that I resolved to return which I did in May this year, nearly 11 years after my first visit.

Known as the “Palace in the Peak” owing to its location and grandeur, Chatsworth House has been lived in by members of the Cavendish family since the sixteenth century. The present house stands on an earlier structure built by the formidable Elizabeth Hardwick (also known as “Bess of Hardwick”) and her second husband Sir William Cavendish and since then it has been the home of the Earls – later Dukes – of Devonshire and their family. Nothing much is left of the original Elizabethan structure and what took its place can be considered as one of the finest Baroque buildings in the country today. As the present Duke and Duchess wrote in their introduction to the visitor’s guidebook, “Chatsworth was built to welcome guests and to be seen” and the house has been open to visitors since the 1600s, welcoming visitors from all over Britain and then from all over the world. One noted visitor was a certain Jane Austen whose visit to Chatsworth would help inspire her best known novel – Pride and Prejudice.

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There is so much to see and do at Chatsworth that one day is not enough. There are 30 rooms on  the visitor route alone, each of them showcasing stupendous interiors, furniture and objects as well as a collection of art ranging from Old Masters to family portraits done by some of the biggest names in British art and modern and contemporary art collected by both the 11th and 12th dukes. And what has made this year’s visit even more memorable is a special exhibition that has been described as the “most ambitious to date.”

House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth, created and curated by the Countess of Burlington together with Vogue Editor Hamish Bowles looks at the history of the Cavendish family through the prism of fashion, with the exhibition spread throughout the visitor route of the house. Alongside actual clothes worn by various members of the family; there are accessories, jewellery, paintings, photographs, drawings and archival material. Various rooms feature clothes that would have been appropriate for their surroundings; for instance the chapel displays wedding gowns worn by Cavendish brides especially during the last 40 years, as well as christening dresses while the dining room features formal gowns and dresses that have been worn to balls and parties by various members of the family.

There is the wide diversity of fashion on display showing members of the family as trend setters – there is an emphasis on Georgiana wife of the 5th duke who during her lifetime was dubbed the “Empress of Fashion” and whose clothes and hairstyle were eagerly scrutinised and copied by other women. As a political hostess, she used her clothes to make a statement: most notably when she was campaigning for Charles James Fox where she was depicted in caricatures wearing a riding habit with a hat trimmed with blue and buff feathers shaped like a fox’s tail. The message was very clear and her riding habit with its masculine cut  can be taken as an attempt to play her part in what was essentially a male sphere.

Several family members were also known for their personal style; Deborah wife to the 11th duke was both at ease with simple practical clothes and grand ball gowns particularly in the 1950s and 1960s when her husband was Lord Mayor of Buxton and a government minister.  She was particularly fond of brooches and had a good collection most of them in the shape of insects which she would pin several on a jacket in one go. Andrew on the other hand, kept up with his ancestors’ frugal ways by insisting that his jackets be patched up and shoes be re-heeled and re-soled until they could no longer be worn. Also known for his sense of humour, he had a collection of several navy blue jumpers embroidered with colourful slogans such as “Never Marry A Mitford”, “Bollocks!”, “After All We’ve Been Through” and “Far Better Not”.

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Other members of the family developed a reputation for being badly dressed, for instance the 10th duke was described by his one of his daughters-in-law as someone who “wore paper collars, did not possess an overcoat and would stand, oblivious of the weather, in the freezing wind on Chesterfield station in a threadbare London suit” while his cigarettes which he kept in his pockets resulted into blackened holes in his suits “which he would never dream of replacing.” It is no wonder that he was often mistaken as a tramp or a dustman by people who asked him for directions.

Another category of the exhibition features clothes from two members of the family who have worked in the fashion industry, first as models and presently as designers and buyers respectively. Two of the most striking clothes from this selection have been worn by Stella Tennant, the first being a “black wool, bias cut, polo neck dress” designed by Alexander McQueen and worn by Tennant to a British Vogue fashion editorial in 1993; and the other was a gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior created in 1998 and exhibited next to a portrait of Duchess Georgiana by Maria Cosway, showing how much Galliano during his tenure as head designer for Dior was very much influenced by eighteenth century fashions.

As this blog focuses on a particular time frame which spans the years 1870 to 1939, my main interests in the exhibition fell into the third category. These are the clothes associated with the public role of a Duke or Duchess of Devonshire. The centrepiece in the Painted Hall is the embroidered robe worn by both Duchess Evelyn and her daughter-in-law Duchess Mary in their capacity as Mistress of the Robes to the 1911, 1937 and 1953 coronations. Ever thrifty and resourceful, both duchesses had the robe patched up and repaired in 1937 and 1953, the former by recycling ermine from old clothes dating from the Edwardian period. However, the presence of two duchesses in 1953 presented a problem – Duchess Mary would wear the robe used by her mother-in-law but what of Duchess Deborah? In 1953, Britain was exhausted by the Second World War and punitive taxes and death duties meant that the Cavendish family wasn’t immune to the economies being made in order to meet these financial obligations. Ordering a new robe was out of the question but help came from an unlikely source – while rifling through old uniforms and livery that had been kept in storage, Deborah and her mother-in-law found a peeress’ robe that had been made and worn for the coronation of William IV in 1831. Owing to its out of date style which did not conform to the prescription laid out for the robes to be worn by each grade in the peerage, royal permission had to be sought and granted for the robes to be worn. This robe is also on display in the Painted Hall.

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The Grotto contains uniforms worn by successive dukes, with the main focus being on the full court dress worn by the 9th duke and the robes of the Order of the Garter worn by successive dukes, the most recent being the 11th duke after being awarded with England’s highest order of chivalry in 1996. Next door along the chapel corridor are accessories, ephemera and photographs used as a time line to chronicle the life and times of the Cavendish family from Bess of Hardwick to the present. Of particular interest to me were Duchess Louise’s embroidered evening bag, a badge bearing Queen Mary’s portrait that denoted Duchess Evelyn’s position as the Queen’s Mistress of the Robes and the frame of the Garter Star belonging to the 8th duke where the stones had been taken to make a diamond tiara for his wife. Again the accessories and ephemera tell us something of the person who owned and has worn them: from the gold locket containing her husband’s photograph that belonged to Kathleen Marchioness of Hartington to the chatelaine that was in Duchess Georgiana’s possession and a pair of slippers embroidered with the image of Elvis Presley that was one of the Duchess Deborah’s treasured objects.

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My favourite however has to be the dresses on display worn for the 1897 Devonshire House Ball especially Duchess Louise’s costume as Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. Made by the House of Worth, the gold, ivory and emerald green gauze and velvet gown is a wonder even after 120 years and it was wonderful to see the fine detail and colour of the gown considering I have only seen it previously in black and white photographs.

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After going round the exhibition twice, it was time to go for a stroll round the gardens. It had just rained so everything looked even more lush and green. Chatsworth’s gardens like the house are also world renowned and reflects the changing times and fashion with regards to garden designs. Whilst parts of the Baroque gardens survive, much of it today is based on the more naturalistic designs by William Kent and Lancelot “Capability” Brown during the 18th century and Joseph Paxton during the 19th. Since the 1950s when the 11th duke and duchess took up residence at Chatsworth, more improvements and work has gone into the garden and the modern sculpture dotted around were an excellent focal and talking point. The fountains of course are a sight to behold especially with the famous cascade and the Emperor fountain.

Before I knew it, it was nearly time to close and there wasn’t much time to explore the rest of the gardens. A return visit in the near future is certainly on the cards but hopefully I won’t have to wait for another eleven years.

 

When visited: 19 May 2017

Photos taken by blogger

House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth is on until 22 October 2017 and is included in the admission ticket to the house. For more information, please go to https://www.chatsworth.org/events/house-style/