Dog lovers will love this new Chatsworth House exhibition, celebrating the home's furry faces

Dogs of all shapes and sizes - from royal favourites and distinguished pedigree,s to determined mongrels and intelligent working dog -, are being celebrated in a new exhibition at Chatsworth House.

Thursday, 14th February 2019, 1:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th February 2019, 1:17 pm
Faithful Friends to Treasured Companions: The Many Lives of Dogs Are Celebrated at Chatsworth

‘The Dog: A Celebration at Chatsworth’ will run at the estate from March 23 to October 6, and is inspired by the Duchess of Devonshire’s love for her four-legged friends. The exhibition will explore stories of bravery and mischief, of working dogs and treasured companions through a myriad of paintings and objects from letters, snuff boxes, jewellery, sculpture and ceramics to embroideries, drawings and painted ceilings.

Star works in the exhibition come from Constable, Stubbs, Gainsborough and Landseer, and will 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-metre high scaffolding sculpture of a dog. Using the most ubiquitous of materials, this piece has a monumental scale and grace not normally associated with its construction material, and will be a vivid addition. 

The exhibition explores more than 400 years of the enduring bond between man and his faithful friend through generations of the Cavendish family celebrating the lives of dogs intertwined with the work of a country estate.

The family’s close association with their dogs is shown right back to the time of the 1st Duke as a child with his dog, through a poem written by Duchess Georgiana in the 18th century, a recipe for dealing with a bite from a mad dog, and letters between the 9th Duke and Duchess detailing the antics of their naughty puppy Punch. The 6th Duke’s many dogs, which he celebrated in commissioned portraits, are brought together again as well as candid family photographs of Duchess Deborah and other family members with their dogs.

The Duchess of Devonshire, who has played a leading role in creating the exhibition, has lent many personal pieces which celebrate her constant companions. Outside the house, the #Chatswoof season will also feature lots of opportunities to get involved, from talks and tours to dog walks and dog agility.