Chatsworth, one of England's greatest country estate's, has opened up its grand State rooms as inspiration to sixteen leading international artists for a contemporary take on its historic surroundings.

A new exhibition of contemporary applied art including furniture, textiles, ceramics and metalwork, 'Modern Makers' opens in the New Gallery on the 18th September and runs until 23rd December. Highlights include a spectacular ash bed by Joseph Walsh, Ptolemy Mann's textile installation ( and a dramatic steel chandelier by Junko Mori (see 'notes to editors' for selected artist pen portraits).

'Modern Makers' aims to challenge perceptions about the role of contemporary crafts in historic settings by using Chatsworth's five State Rooms as inspiration. This sequence of rooms was created by the first Duke of Devonshire at the end of the 17th century and designed to accommodate the monarch in the event of a visit. Each room is more luxuriously furnished than its predecessor - marking the visitor's progress towards the Royal presence but only as far as their status permitted - before reaching the State Bedchamber and, most private of all, the State Closet where the monarch could relax and work.

The Duke of Devonshire said: "Historically the internal decoration at Chatsworth was brought up-to-date by every successive generation, invariably with objects made by the best contemporary makers. I think it's entirely fitting that a new generation of modern masters should take inspiration from the best of the past to create these wonderful new works."

In the Old Master Drawings Cabinet a complementary exhibition,'Renaissance to Rococo: Designs for the Luxury Arts' (3 Aug - 8 Nov 2013), features a dozen drawings of historic designs for interiors and luxury goods by artists from Holbein to Watteau including a particularly strong group of metalwork designs by the Italian Renaissance artist, Giulio Romano, a pupil of Raphael. (

Hosted by Sotheby's, 'Modern Makers' is curated by Sarah Griffin: "This is an exhibition of work by artists who either feature in the Devonshire's collection of contemporary applied arts, or whose work, in material, technique, subject matter or function, corresponds with aspects of the historical collections. Visits to the house with many of the makers has yielded new insights into the collecting achievements of the Devonshire's and their multi-faceted interests and passions, and an unprecedented opportunity for innovation and inspiration amongst the artists. The work in the exhibition, in its seriousness, content, and skill in the making, can be claimed simultaneously by the fine art, design and craft worlds. These makers are masters of their chosen materials and techniques - which partly define their work, but equally bring content, depth of reference, well-thought out and considered design to each work."

Visitors to Chatsworth will be able to see the both exhibitions at no extra charge beyond normal house admission (


Notes to editors:
. Over the past 15 years the Chatsworth House Trust and the Devonshire family have continued to purchase and commission contemporary sculpture for public display. In 2011 the award-winning artist Laura Ellen Bacon from Darley Dale in Derbyshire created a new work titled 'Forms of Growth' made from Somerset willow. Works by Dame Elisabeth Frink, Angela Conner, Barry Flanagan, David Nash, Gary Breeze and Allen Jones can be found throughout the garden and park.

2. Beyond Limits: 9 September to 27 October 2013. Allen Jones will be creating a specially commissioned work as part of a strong British contingent including Marc Quinn, Tony Cragg and Bill Woodrow at this year's monumental sculpture show ( - Tony Cragg, 'Declination' from this year's show). Other artists include Jaume Plensa, Manolo Valdés, Mario Merz, Juan Muñoz plus a magnificent pavilion by Thomas Heatherwick, designer of London's Olympic Cauldron. 

3. Emma McGuire: 'XXXX' (11 July - 8 Nov 2013) - A new exhibition of abstracted photographic images by the young British artist Emma McGuire inspired by her time immersed within New York's cage-fighter subculture.

4. The Chatsworth House Trust is an independent charity (no 511149) set up by the 11th Duke of Devonshire in 1981, to ensure the long-term survival of Chatsworth for the benefit of the public.  All admission and event income from visitors, together with a percentage of income from shops and restaurants, goes directly to this Trust, and can only be spent on the upkeep and improvement of the house, collections, garden, farmyard and park.

Chatsworth is 16 miles from the MI, 10 miles from Chesterfield, and 8 miles north of Matlock, in the heart of Derbyshire's Peak District National Park and is well served by transport links.

'Modern Makers' artist pen portraits:
Joseph Walsh
 (b.1979) founded his studio and workshop in 1999 in Co. Cork, Ireland. He is a self-taught designer maker, realising one of a kind and limited edition pieces in wood. His works can be found in many important international museum and private collections including Chatsworth, the National Museum of Ireland, the Embassy of Japan, Ireland and Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Joseph Walsh has created a dramatic curved bed in ash wood for the exhibition.

Ptolemy Mann (b.1972) is a textile artist, who weaves colour-soaked, linear wall panels using the ikat technique (pictured above). Inspired by the colour theories of the Bauhaus and artists such as Anni Albers and Charles and Ray Eames, she also finds inspiration in photography and the landscape. Ptolemy has created textiles for London Transport, Christopher Farr, Cunard and Hilton Hotel Group. She is a regular exhibitor at the Chelsea Craft Fair, ORIGIN, 100% Design, SOFA New York and Chicago and is a selected maker on the Crafts Council register. Ptolemy has created a shimmering textile corridor at Chatsworth.

Junko Mori (b.1974) is a Japanese metalworker and graduate of Camberwell College of Arts in London, who creates hand-forged works which are both organic and minimalist. In 2004, the department store Peter Jones in Sloane Square, commissioned her to create a foyer sculpture entitled 'Sprig' for its newly refurbished interior. Her works are in the Collections of the V&A and Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii. Junko's black steel chandelier will be one of the highlights of the show.

Felicity Aylieff (b.1954) is internationally renowned for her large scale ceramics. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, she was the first Ceramics and Glass student at the RCA to be awarded an MPhil research degree. Working from her studio in Bath for more than 3 decades, she has recently developed a collaboration with manufactories in Jingdezhen, China where she makes monumental pots. Her work is held in numerous international private and public collections including the V&A. Felicity's two blue and white lidded jars, and two groups of five pots, will echo the collection of oriental porcelain in the Devonshire Collection.

Julian Stair (b.1955) is an English potter, who works in a range of materials, from fine glazed porcelain to rough engineering brick clays. His groups of ceramics vary in scale from cups and teapots to monumental jars over 6 feet tall and weighing half a ton. Julian has exhibited internationally over the last 30 years and has work in over 20 collections including the V&A, British Council, American Museum of Art & Design, Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Boymans Museum, Netherlands. Julian has created a ceramics installation inspired by the Chatsworth China Closet.

Max Lamb (b.1980), native of St. Austell in Cornwall and a graduate of the Royal College of Art, was named "Designer of the Future" at Design Miami/Basel in 2008. Lamb revels in experimenting with process and materials. He laboriously chisels, buries, grows and smelts materials into rugged and bold forms, casting in sand, cutting furniture from solid rock, hand-carving from polystyrene and casting in bronze. For Modern Makers Max is making furniture out of a felled yew taken from the grounds at Chatsworth.

For further information or images please contact:
Steve Houghton (
Liz Bee (
Redbrick Communications, 68 St James's Street, Nottingham, NG1 6FJ
T: 0115 910 1500,

Latest news

Book tickets Read more articles
Stay in touch with Chatsworth

Newsletter sign-up

Never miss a thing. Stay up to date with our latest news, offers and events by entering your details below: