Lovers of Afternoon tea, Dowtown Abbey, Royals, English cottage gardens and Antiques, this post is for you. This Wednesday 2th of March will be held the Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire’s auction at Sotheby’s London. This event is very particular for me as I had great interest for the life of the Duchess since several years now (until she sadly passed away in 2014 at the venerable age of 94). It was my grand-mother who made me discover the Duchess through one of her books, “Les humeurs d’une Châtelaine“, in which she shares some of her moods and anecdotes. This book was such a darling and put me in the athmosphere of her Castle life in Chatsworth. It made me eager to discover more about her extraordinary life.
You probably know that she was one (and the last, as specified in the title of the auction) of the famous Mitford Sisters? That she was the Mistress of the Robes at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation? That she married of of the Duke of Devonshire and that Chatsworth, one of the biggest castle and estate in Great-Britain (that inspired Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice), became her home? That she possessed an original edition of Brideshead revisited signed by Evelyn Waugh himself? That she was a huge fan of Elvis Presley? That she was invited to take the tea in Berlin with Hitler (her sister Unity was indeed a close relation of the German dictator)? That she was a friend of the Kennedy family? That she had a passion for hens ? Well, that’s not everyone’s life, to say the least.
I guess that what I love the most about her is her exquisite mix of the most traditional elegance, and her unexpected excentricity, as English people can succeed to.
The auction will display some of the treasures that the Duchess had chosen for her last residence. She indeed decided to downsize at the age of 85 and to leave the huge Chatsworth for the old vicarage of the estate. She also decorated the place by herself so the result is a lovely elegant yet simple cottage-style interior.
I let you discover a few pics of Her Grace mixed with pictures of Chatsworth, the old vicarage and of the collection. If you’re in London these days, you might have the pleasure to see them during the exhibition times from Saturday, 27 February to Tuesday, 1 March. If you don’t, you can still take a look at this beautiful catalogue and, why not, bid online. I’ll let you know if I succeed to purchase something (a woman can have dreams) 🙂