Living with the builders

Saturday 22 September | 12pm–1pm

In March 2018 Chatsworth - and particularly its inhabitants, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire - rejoiced in the completion of the biggest conservation and restoration of Chatsworth house, its garden and park, since the 1820s. In conversation with curator Anna Farthing, the Duke and Duchess and specialist conservation architect Peter Inskip discuss their initial ambitions and share their reflections on the completion of the programme and on living with the builders - on a grand scale.

The Duke and the Duchess appointed Peter Inskip to direct and oversee the work required to renew the infrastructure of the building, including all the services and, crucially, improve the accessibility of the visitor route.  Known internally as the “Masterplan”, the project inevitably grew and changed as it went along. 10 years on - and at a cost of more than £32m - Chatsworth has been restored to its full glory, inside and out. Meanwhile it was business as usual for the more than half a million visitors a year that visit Chatsworth. They continued to visit, scaffolding notwithstanding, and much enjoyed watching the work in progress.

The exhibition, curated by Anna Farthing, ‘Chatsworth Renewed: the house past, present and future’ celebrates the skill and commitment of those involved in this decade of works. As part of the curatorial process, Anna recorded the Duke, Duchess and Peter Inskip, alongside the many joiners, stonemasons, lead specialists, textile conservators and groundworkers involved in the restoration process. Their memories and experiences have been lodged in the Chatsworth archives for posterity and a selection of their words appear in the exhibition.

Chatsworth Renewed: the house, past, present and future is open until 21 October 2018.

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More about Peter Inskip and Anna Farthing

Peter Inskip

Peter Inskip MBE is director in charge of historic buildings at Inskip Gee Architects, London.  He has been responsible for the restoration of the Albert Memorial, Somerset House and the Yale Center for British Art, as well as several great country houses, including Chastleton, Strawberry Hill, Waddesdon and Castle Drogo. Peter has served on the architectural advisory committees of the National Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles.

Anna Farthing

Working as a director, curator and creative consultant for over twenty five years, Anna Farthing’s background spans performing arts, heritage, festivals and academic research. Previous projects include Bristol Doors Open Days for The Architecture Centre, the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay, and Larkin: New Eyes Each Year for Hull U.K. City of Culture 2017.

Anna Farthing, The Duke an Duchess of Devonshire and Peter Inskip
Anna Farthing, The Duke an Duchess of Devonshire and Peter Inskip

Banner image: The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire on the South Lawn at Chatsworth