Currently on display in Palace House, The Flying Lady exhibition celebrates the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot. The exhibition explores the connections between motoring pioneer John Montagu, his friend, the British artist and sculptor, Charles Sykes, and John’s London based secretary and mistress, Eleanor Thornton, who is widely believed to be the inspiration for Sykes’ iconic mascot. On display in the exhibition are original artworks and ephemera rarely seen in public, including several original bronzes, Spirit of Ecstasy mascots from the earliest examples to the latest casting and The Whisper, a unique mascot created by Sykes especial for John Montagu.
Current special exhibitions at Chatsworth include the Duke and Duchess’ favourite things. The whole north sketch gallery is full of beautiful objects and paintings curated by the Duke and Duchess, including the jewel encrusted Kniphausen Hawk, a colour changing portrait by Michael Craig Martin, and many other stunning objects.
Within the Bachelor Apartments, a new gallery space has been opened celebrating the life and accomplishments of the 6th Duke of Devonshire, who along with his head gardener Joseph Paxton was responsible for many of the most popular features at Chatsworth today.
|The Rainbow Portrait|
The famous Rainbow portrait of Queen Elizabeth I faces the entrance to the Marble Hall. This dazzling picture is rich in symbolism. The motto ‘non sine sole iris’ ( no peace without the sun) refers to Elizabeth as bringer of peace after a period of storm.
As part of the 400th anniversary celebrations, there is an exhibition of period documents on display including Robert Cecil’s first edition of the King James Bible.
Woburn Abbey is admired as having one of the world’s finest private collections with over 250 works of art including many famous paintings by artists such as Cuyp, Gainsborough, Reynolds and Van Dyck. See the iconic Armada Portrait of the Tudor Queen as Empress of the world, delicate etchings by Queen Victoria and the largest private collection in the world of Venetian views painted by Canaletto in one room.
Touring the Abbey covers three floors, including the vaults and the maritime themed grotto, where 18th century furniture, gold and silver collections, porcelain and many private items treasured throughout the centuries are on display.