We took off this half-term for three days in Derbyshire. The Peak District looked like something out of a film, which, given the number of movies set there, is a case of circular art-imitating-life/life-imitating art. Gorgeous sheep-filled fields, with streams meandering through them, in autumn’s browns, reds and golds.
This was particularly true in Chatsworth itself. The intersection of art and life was almost surreal. Clips of The Duchess playing, while outside the window, one gazes at the very same scenes that you see on screen.
The grounds are picture perfect, and for a couple of days I was close to perfect happiness, walking through those grounds back-lit and flood-lit by autumn. I absolutely cannot wait to go again.
The Dukes of Devonshire are a colourful family, and the current family practises “leveraging” to the utmost. A brilliant example of making the most of what you have. Using their grounds to host Sotheby auctions of monument outdoor sculpture. (Some were splendid–David Ben-Zadok’s circle of wild dancers, his full moon sculpture, Dali’s Femme en Flamme. I would happily have Ben-Zadok’s wild pagan dancers in my back garden could I afford it, but c’est la vie… )
Anyway, a solid business sense is evident behind the aristocratic veneer. Renting the grounds for weddings. Charging heftyish admission fees. Extra for the petting zoo. To him who has shall more be given, provided they hone their talents, shine and buff them, instead of burying them in the ground.