Man’s best friend will take centre stage at Chatsworth during 2019 as the Cavendish family celebrate their love of dogs over the centuries as part of an action-packed new season of events, activities and exhibitions.
The Dog: A Celebration at Chatsworth is a new exhibition of exceptional works from artists such as Constable, Stubbs, Gainsborough and Landseer sitting alongside contemporary pieces by David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Elisabeth Frink.
The Cavendish’s personal relationships with their dogs are featured in photographs, paintings and letters ranging from Duchess Georgiana in the 18th century to Duchess Deborah in the 20th and Duchess Amanda in the 21st. Across the garden, parkland and wider estate, the #Chatswoof season will feature lots of opportunities to get involved from talks and tours; dog walks and dog agility as well as major events such as the Chatsworth Country Fair.
Key dates for the diary for the 2019 season include (NB: House and garden do not open until 23 March):
Chatsworth season opening: March 23, 2019
Chatsworth House, Garden, Farmyard and Adventure Playground open for the 2019 season on 23 March. Over the winter, a deep clean of the house is undertaken to carry out vital conservation work on items in the collection as well as cleaning cornices, panelling, picture frames and other features that are difficult to access when the house is open to visitors.
The Dog: A Celebration at Chatsworth 23 March – 6 October: displaying a myriad of paintings and objects from letters, snuff boxes, jewellery, sculpture and ceramics to tapestries, drawings and painted ceilings this new exhibition celebrates the Cavendish family’s centuries-old relationship with dogs.
Star works from Constable, Stubbs, Gainsborough and Landseer sit alongside contemporary pieces by Lucian Freud, Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Elisabeth Frink to complete a wonderful celebration of dogs in art. In the garden, the Duke and Duchess have commissioned the artist Ben Long to create an eight-foot-high scaffolding sculpture of a dog. Using the most ubiquitous of materials, this site-specific piece has a monumental scale and grace not normally associated with its construction material and is a vivid addition to the landscape.
Easter: March 30 – 28 April 2019
There will be lots to see and do all across the garden and farmyard throughout the Easter holidays. Chatsworth is celebrating with its ever-popular Easter egg hunts, Eggspress Trailer rides and hands-on craft activities, as well as the Easter explorer map in the garden.
Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials: 10–12 May
From elegant dressage and exciting show jumping to gripping cross country, Chatsworth International Horse Trials deliver world-class competition over three days of thrilling equestrian action, as well as entertainment for all the family in a beautiful setting.
Heritage crafts week at the farmyard: 25–31 May
Traditional rural skills such as dry-stone walling and fly tying are being demonstrated in hands-on sessions.
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show: 5–9 June
Innovative design and the very best of traditional rural crafts in the spectacular setting of Chatsworth’s parkland are the hallmarks of the RHS’s newest show, which returns for its third year.
Chatsworth Country Fair: 30 August–1 September
Animals always play a starring role at the country fair and with 2019 seeing a celebration of our canine friends at Chatsworth, dogs of all shapes and sizes will be top of the pile. K9 Aqua Sports features all kinds of aquatic canine competition: dogs diving into a large swimming pool and competing against each other in the long jump, high jump and the sprint. As well as being great fun to watch, there’s also the chance to put your own dog to the test with ‘have-a-go’ sessions. One of England’s most spectacular annual outdoor events, Chatsworth Country Fair hosts a packed programme of grand ring entertainment, a cookery theatre and fine food village. Military bands, stunt teams and aerobatics displays, as well as the chance to have a go at a myriad of heritage country sports, attract thousands of visitors from across the country.
Chatsworth Arts Festival: 20–22 September
Returning for its fifth edition, the Chatsworth Arts Festival is a celebration of conversation, performance and film, about art, culture, fashion and design. Previous festivals have hosted the likes of Grayson Perry CBE, Cornelia Parker, Erdem and Dan Pearson alongside the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire who are passionate about contemporary art and horticulture.
Halloween: 26 October – 3 November
Spooktacular surprises for all ages lurk around every corner at Chatsworth on Halloween, as well as Fright Flights and an abandoned coal tunnel.
Bonfire and fireworks: 2–3 November
One of the county’s biggest and best firework displays for adults and children alike returns to Chatsworth for two nights, along with lighting of the bonfire, a children’s firework display and a grand finale firework display.
Christmas at Chatsworth: 9 November 2019 – 5 January 2020
Beautiful festive decorations, show-stopping fir trees and twinkling lights transform Chatsworth at Christmas. The theme for this year’s celebrations will be announced in September.
Christmas market: 15 November – 3 December
A survey by the hotel chain Premier Inn last year revealed Chatsworth as the best Christmas market in the UK, so where better to start your shopping?
Soak up the atmosphere as you browse more than 100 stalls, set on Lodge Hill, next to the house, and offering a wide range of premium food and drink as well as artisan Christmas gifts and decorations.