Uncover another layer of Chatsworth

On 19 November 2019 Alice Martin, Devonshire Collections Manager, delivered a private viewing of key items from the Devonshire Collections. Hosted in the Library, Patrons were given a rare insight into some of the more curious and unusual items in the collection, including little known Edwardian gadgets used for early scientific discoveries. This included the complex and fascinating instruments belonging to inventor and scientist Henry Cavendish; a cucumber slicer possibly invented by George Stephenson (the celebrated locomotive engineer); the Devonshire Parure; the 2nd Duke’s signet ring and one of the volumes of The Birds of America by Audubon.  

Henry Cavendish was grandson of the 2nd Duke of Devonshire and almost a third of the books on the Library’s shelves at Chatsworth come from his collection. Henry Cavendish was one of the leading experimental scientists of the 18th century. One achievement he was, recognised for during his lifetime was estimating the density and, thus, weight of the world to within 1% of its correct weight. In the summer of 1797 Cavendish had undertaken a series of experiments using an apparatus designed by Professor Francis Wollaston who had died four years earlier.  Measuring the gravitational torque on a six-foot wooden rod carrying two small lead balls and acting under the pull of two large weights nearby he concluded that the earth's density was just under 5.5 times that of water. His results were published in 1798, and helped reinforce Cavendish's reputation as a leading scientist of the Georgian age.

See what our Patrons had to say...

Thank you all for arranging all the splendid Patron‘s events this year. What a terrific end to the year with the ‘Garden evening’ on that glorious sunny evening. I have thoroughly enjoyed every event and learning more about Chatsworth. Highlights are hard to pick out of such an interesting and varied programme but I’m still blown away by seeing so many items from the collection up close including the Henry VIII Boxwood Rosary. - Sally, 2019 Patron of Chatsworth

Patrons events

Highlights of the 2018/19 programme included 'The hidden side of Chatsworth' with Janet Bitton, our head housekeeper, showing the Elizabethan foundations of the original house and 17th century graffiti left by staff. We held a viewing of some incredible books, diaries and archival documents led by Fran Baker, our archivist, and viewed the garden accompanied by Steve Porter, our head of gardens and domain. Steve shared his insight on the development and evolution of the garden over the last 500 years and showed our patrons the areas of gardens that are due to be enhanced in the next couple of years by noted garden designers Dan Pearson and Tom Stuart-Smith.

As a Patron you will have exclusive access to Chatsworth, the collections and the curatorial and management team via the events programme. These give an insight into how Chatsworth is looked after and an opportunity to delve into the depths of the Devonshire Collections which are brought to life by the knowledge and passion of the Chatsworth staff. View the 2019/20 Patrons events programme.

Newsletter sign-up

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

We use a third party provider to share our email newsletters. We collect statistics, including email opens and clicks, using industry standard technologies, such as clear gifs, to help us improve our newsletter content making it more interesting and relevant. You can learn more in our privacy policy.