New season of Chatsworth talks to tell hidden stories of history

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and others from the Chatsworth estate are set to reveal some of the secrets of its success in a new season of talks.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:37 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 1:17 pm
The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire are inviting people behind the scenes at Chatsworth in a new season of talks.
The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire are inviting people behind the scenes at Chatsworth in a new season of talks.

While much of the estate is closed for the winter, the ongoing series of events will give visitors an idea of life behind the scenes and centuries of unsung heroes.

Things kick off on Tuesday, January 21, when expert seamstress Marie White will talk through a typical year on the textiles team, from conservation work to dazzling Christmas decorations.

The talk will be repeated on February 27, and Marie will return on April 2 and June 23 to talk about the costumes appearing in famous portraits on the house walls.

Chatsworth's head gardener Steve Porter will be talking about the estate's famous horticultural history.

On February 7, a preview of this year’s main exhibition, Life Stories, will bring to life real people associated with Chatsworth through portraits and objects from the Devonshire collections.

The collections and the education teams will be focusing on the stories of a few of the most significant exhibits and their importance.

On February 21, the Duke and Duchess’s son, Lord Burlington, will be joined by psychology professor Miles Richardson to explore the relationships between art and the natural world and why Chatsworth is the ideal setting to do so.

As the estate moves into spring, the focus will stay outdoors, and on connections between nature and culture.

Heir to the estate Lord Burlington will be taking a psychological approach to the intersection of art and nature.

On February 28, head gardener Steve Porter will deliver an illustrated talk on the fascinating history of Joseph Paxton at Chatsworth and the mark he made on the garden.

On March 6, Steve will give a second talk on the garden’s history and present developments, such as RHS Chelsea in 2015 and Arcadia in 2019/20.

On March 13, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire themselves will reflect on contributions to the collections, house and garden from 16 generations of the Cavendish family.

They will explore the contemporary styles of each of generation, the contribution of their parents to their personal tastes, their own new additions to the house and collections, and their plans for the future.

Until March 12, tours will be available most days for guests at selected local hotels.

For more details on all upcoming events, go to