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An insight into a treasure house
on 14 January 2012
This book is very much like an exhibition catalogue, with full colour photographs of the various treasures, and a rather dry and academic museum-label description of the item written by the collection Keeper. The (Dowager) Duchess of Devonshire's sole contribution to the book is the introduction at the start, full of her wit and style and imperial measurements. She merrily uses inches and furlongs instead of the centimetres found in the item descriptions. There are some familiar items here and some rarely seen being tucked away in the private rooms, all in all it's a wonderful glimpse of the many treasures of this house. The Canalettos and the huge silver candlebra from the State Dressing Room may be familiar to visitors, but sketches by Da Vinci and Raphael and the fabulous books of illuminated script probably aren't. Ultimately it's less satisfying that Debo's other books, particularly with her small contribution, and there's an awful lot of blank paper in this book - it could have far more in it. Nevertheless anyone who enjoys this wonderful Derbyshire house will enjoy browsing through the book.