Chatsworth worked with Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele to bring American artist Rachel Feinstein to Chatsworth as the 2019 artist in residence. Feinstein has worked in response to the garden and its buildings.
The Grotto holds a new commission, a figure called Britannia, named after the Roman mythological figure that represents the British Isles. Feinstein’s Britannia is life-size and was made with the expert assistance of the Nymphenburg porcelain factory in Munich, Germany. Feinstein saw an 18th century Derby porcelain figure of Britannia in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which influenced this work.
Overlooking the Grotto Pond is Rococo Hut, an aluminium and graphic representation of a playhouse, which has the appearance of a stage set or pop-up book. The sculpture is part of a series called Folly, which connects strongly to the Grotto – itself a garden folly.
Both sculptures reference the 18th century baroque and rococo styles of art and architecture. These styles are rich in ornamentation and fantasy, and a similar date to the style of Chatsworth as it is seen today.
Image credits: Rococo Hut, 2014 Powder-coated aluminium with applied graphics, photos by Samuel Keyte, courtesy the artist; The artist pictured at the Nymphenburg factory; Britannia, 2019, glazed majolica with steel supports, photo by Samuel Keyte, courtesy the artist and Gucci.