The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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May 14, 2011

The page I'm reading now...

At the time we moved in, Chatsworth had belonged to ten generations of Andrew's family. The Fifth was known more for his marriage to the fascinating Lady Georgianna Spencer, famous for her gambling debts, enormous hats and electioneering prowess, than for anything he achieved himself. The Sixth Duke, known as the bachelor Duke, was their only son, and he became the scribe of Chatsworth, setting down its history and evolution in his vivid (and to me, indispensable) Handbook to Chatsworth and Hardwick,  written in 1844 in the form of a letter to his sister. He was funny and sad, the irresistible combination that is one of the secrets of charm. He built and restored with great passion inside and out, including extravagances of orchid and camellia houses, peach houses and vineries, and the crowning glory of the Conservatory, created by Paxton in 1836-41, a glasshouse tall enough to house a tropical forest.
      The pictures, tapestries and furniture were taken for granted by the Eighth Duke, who inherited none of the passion for collecting so marked in his forebears. When visiting the English section of the Paris Exhibition with a friend, he stopped in front of a splendid poryphyry table. 'This is splendid,' he said. 'I envy the man who owns this.'  His friend glanced at the catalogue to see that it had been lent from Chatsworth.
-- from Wait for Me! Memoirs, by Deborah Mitford,
Duchess of Devonshire and Charlotte Mosley

{I love orchids. Looking forward to my next project, after the teacups.}

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Ann said...

My absolutely favourite place to visit. And if you get the chance to go, don't miss the estate farm shop a couple of miles away to the west. The food is wonderful.

Karen K. said...

I hope I can get to this memoir soon! I've read Love in a Cold Climate and would love to read more about the Mitfords. I still have The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell and I want to read that too. It might be a Mitford summer!

Darlene said...

Such a wonderful book by a wonderful woman. What I wouldn't give to have Debo over for tea.

Frances said...

Have had this one for a while and cannot wait to get to it. The Mitfords are always interesting but I am also a fan of house books where the building is as strong a character as anything human in the book.

Nan said...

Wonderful! I must read this. I have her 'Chickens' book and so loved it. And I have a big picture book about Chatsworth. Endlessly fascinating those Mitfords! One could spend a year just reading about them.

Thank you for visiting!

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