Mineral and fossil collection | Chatsworth House | Derbyshire | England

Chatsworth Treasures, and To Thine Own Self Be Blue

Teja and the Treasure Room of Chatsworth House

Near the end of my Derbyshire trip, I went to visit the stately home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth House.

In an earlier article I had mentioned that I preferred the grounds of the estate over the grand house itself. However, there were things within it that are curious enough to take my fancy. Here are some of those that appealed to me the most.

The dining hall

Bespoke chairs art installation in Chatsworth House | Derbyshire | England
Bespoke chairs art installation in Chatsworth House

When I visited, the dining room hosted an exhibition that had this dining table, with a tablecloth spread over it written all over with the names of famous people in disparate fields.

Arranged around the table were dining chairs, each of them different, and each crafted to represent some luminary or other. I guess, as if they were all coming to dinner together.

For some reason I adored the notion of having dining chairs that do not match.

The parallel benches

In another room was another curious display. Two benches laid parallel to each other. One a matte, sooty black, absorbing light. The other a resinous slab lighted from within, but not completely clear. I don’t claim to quite get it or remember what it was supposed to be, but the image of it appealed to me.

They didn’t mind if you sit on them. Which was pretty cool.

Light and dark art installation | Chatsworth House | Derbyshire | England
Light and darkness

The subjectivity of treasure

However, the best part was near the end of the tour route. I don’t remember what the room was actually called, because I’ve decided to call it the ‘treasure room’. Packed in here are all the miscellany arty stuff and eccentric collections of the different masters of the house.

Immediately catching my eye is this resin replica of a fruit from my region, the jackfruit. It felt so odd and rather funny to see someone bother to make a likeness of the humble jackfruit and display it with such prominence! Doubtless once upon a time it would probably have been placed in one of the main rooms and shown off, perhaps as an indication of the possessor’s worldliness and knowledge of the exotic things in the part of the empire that was the Malay States.

Jackfruit in resin | Chatsworth House | Treasure room | Derbyshire | England
I… guess jackfruit was a novelty here back then

Then there was this. Someone had clearly been a budding geologist, with this stash of semi-precious crystal and fossils.

Mineral and fossil collection | Chatsworth House | Derbyshire | England
Mineral and fossil collection

So there were lots of statuary in the treasure room. And yet what do I show you guys? A tropical fruit, rocks, and these awesome benches. I don’t know why, I thought it was cool how the mosaic poured onto the floor. Especially the green pair, where the spill stretched out to each other.

mosaic floor and seats | Chatsworth House | Derbyshire | England
Mosaic in Chatsworth House ‘treasure room’

To Thine Own Self Be Blue

After I was done with Chatsworth, I walked over to a hamlet next to it called Edensor (pronounced “En-ser”. Why? God knows. And the English have the cheek to complain about French silent consonants).

I will explain why Edensor gets special mention.

When I was planning this trip I had in mind the colour blue. I began in Sydney earlier in the year, when I had gone to the Blue Mountains. I wanted to do as many blue things in Derbyshire as possible. Hence the bluebells, the bluejohn cavern, and even Blu Bistro for a lunch stop.

Edensor | blue trimmed houses | Chatsworth | Derbyshire
Trimmed in blue

When I arrived and we drove through South Yorkshire to get to Barnsley, I was gratified to learn that its flag colour is blue behind the white flower. Blue was popular trim all across the Peak District. There was blue decal on the planes that carried me, and on the trains. It felt like the place was giving me a hug and cheering on my Blue Period revival struggle. If ever inanimate things could root for you, this time and place managed to express it.

Then there was Edensor. When I looked it up, after my friend suggested a stop there, I was smitten instantly. The entire hamlet was trimmed entirely – and only – in blue.

He must have thought me mad, blubbering excitedly about blue buildings and his perfect aim.

It was a completely symbolic notion. But at that time, it mattered so much to me, that the whole trip played along with a rhapsody in blue.

Chatsworth House | Treasure room | Derbyshire | England

What sort of un-treasurelike things have you seen as treasure? 

 

9 thoughts on “Chatsworth Treasures, and To Thine Own Self Be Blue

  1. “For some reason I adored the notion of having dining chairs that do not match.” OMG that appeals to me so much too! It’s so funky and unique – I love it when places do that.

    ALSO that chair and bench with the mosiac tiles are so beautiful! 😮

    1. I was just thinking, you know probably the *people* won’t match – some will be tall and some (me) will be short. Some like a wide seat, some like a high back. why should the chairs match?

  2. That monument to the wonder of Jack-fruit brought a smile to my face. And, I have to agree with them. There need to be more statues of jackfruit. It is just that amazing, especially as a shake. Great post by the way, sounds like you had a great time exploring every nooks and cranny.

    1. I’ve never had jackfruit shake! We’re missing a trick here in Malaysia! And we’re usually so good at devising fruity drinks!

  3. I love those benches with the splashy paint going onto the floor! And the jackfruit replica is too funny! I once saw a “treasure” in Istanbul….the arm of St. John the Baptist….yikes!

  4. Chatsworth looks really fascinating. The parallel benches look intriguing, though their purpose is not clear. Would love to visit the place to leisurely view these treasures.

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