Chatsworth, Arcadia, Now

Chatsworth, Arcadia, Now

Seven Scenes from the Life of a House


A stunningly original portrait of one of England's grandest country houses

No house embodies the spirit of one dynasty better than Chatsworth. Set in an unspoilt Derbyshire valley, surrounded by wild moorland, and home to the Cavendish family for sixteen generations, this treasure house is filled with works of art and objects - from Nicolas Poussin's The Arcadian Shepherds and Antonio Canova's Endymion to great contemporary paintings by Lucian Freud and David Hockney - which have all, in their time, represented the very best of the new. As Stoker Cavendish, the twelfth Duke of Devonshire, likes to point out: 'Everything was new once.'

Following the completion of a decade-long programme of renovations, the exterior of Chatsworth is gleaming, its stone façade newly cleaned and its window frames freshly gilded. Inside, through the inspired juxtaposition of old and modern, its rooms fizz with creative energy. Chatsworth, Arcadia, Now tells the story of this extraordinary place through seven scenes from its life, alongside a stunning photographic portrait of the house and its collections, captured at a moment of high optimism in its long history.

With a foreword by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.


  • Chatsworth, Arcadia, Now is about the most sumptuous book I've seen in a third of a century of book reviewing. It charts the story of sixteen generations of Cavendishes' involvement with one of the two or three grandest and most beautiful houses in Britain
    Andrew Roberts, author of GEORGE III

About the author

John-Paul Stonard

John-Paul Stonard is an art historian and author. His books include Creation, German Divided and, as editor and contributor, The Books that Shaped Art History. He co-curated the 2014 exhibition Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation at Tate Britain. His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian and The Burlington Magazine. He lives in Suffolk.
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