Preparing an article on Chatsworth

On Friday I went on long but fruitful train journey (changing at a misty Ely station) to Chesterfield and on by car to Chatsworth, preparing a new article. I spent a very interesting time with the curator, Hannah, and chatted to the Keeper, Charles Noble, and the archivist and Christine, the delightful lady in charge of the in house textiles team. Most amusingly I found myself in the archive reading room, occupying a seat only lately vacated by Roy Hattersley. I passed him in the courtyard and regretted not saying hello.

Chatsworth is one of the houses where your head becomes dizzy with the richness of it all, indeed I think it takes a day to recover from just seeing Chatsworth in the flesh for the first time. I had a very good time reading the advice of Duchess Evelyn to her successor in 1924, lots of works in hand for the new season. I noticed in the Chesterfield station waiting room that it is hung with 1920s oil paintings on loan from the Duke, what a nice thought, pity it is not a nicer room for them.

Also on Wednesday, attended a lecture at Christies (in aid of the John Cornforth Memorial Fund) by Sarah Troughton, half-sister to the late Duke of Atholl, now the resident of Blair Castle, where she grew up. Excellent lecture, introduced by the Earl of Dalkeith, and a great gathering of experts and country house owners (most of whom I would also think of experts) in the audience, Mrs Troughton showed a wonderful slide of a Zoffany portrait of her 18th century ancestors, Tim Knox pointing out that the animal depicted in the tree was a ring-tailed lemur, this being one of the first depictions of this animal in Britain I believe.

At the weekend I helped my daughter Miranda with her science homework, it took us hours. She turned out to be the only one in the whole class who handed it in at all, all about atoms and molecules (I was acknowledged in the homework). The mind boggles.

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