“Debo”, the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, collected insect brooches, among other quirky things such as Elvis memorabilia. Really. Elvis...
As part of the House Style exhibit we saw on our recent tour of Chatsworth, a number of the brooches were imaginatively arranged on botanical-themed porcelain — insects lighting on the flowers on the plates.
According to the little explanatory card in the case, the plates are Bloor Derby and date from the time of the 6th Duke, so that would have been mid-nineteenth century. The Bachelor Duke, as the 6th Duke was known, was a great collector, and acquired many of the treasures at Chatsworth.
Wikipedia has a handy summary of Derby marks; Bloor Derby was produced between 1811 and 1849.
The plates-with-brooches were in a fairly dimly lighted room, so a steady hand on the camera was required. Between jostling crowds and gimlet-eyed docents, this was no small feat. Risking glares and sharp elbows, I pressed my camera lens as close to the display cases as I could manage. Happily, no mishaps ensued.
I love the deep purple parrot tulips touched with yellow, depicted on the plate. The brooches are pretty, too!
A close-up of one of the brooches. I’m not an insect expert, so not sure what this bug is 🙂
But can be reasonably confident that this one is a butterfly.
Apparently many of the brooches were gifts from her husband, Andrew, the 11th Duke of Devonshire.
There was also a serpent piece (shudder – I detest snakes).
Serpents are one of the symbols of the Devonshires, and are included in the family crest. This is a closeup of the serpent on the plates, so I take it the plates were custom made for the 6th Duke.
More of the brooches were displayed on a gown in the “Shall We Go Through” exhibit in the Dining Room at Chatsworth.
I have one more post to do on the Fashions we saw at Chatsworth, including the gown and tiara the late Dowager Duchess wore to Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in the mid 1950s. The same gown was worn by one of the earlier Duchesses to the coronation of Queen Victoria. Between the high quality silk velvet and the ermine trimmings, these gowns are very pricey, and are preserved for decades.
She had to get special permission to wear this particular gown, as it was off the shoulder, and contravened the then-current dress code for Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation. Permission was granted, and off she went, regally attired in crimson velvet and ermine.
The tiara that went with the gown. I suspect this is a replica, but you get the idea.
In the meantime, if you want to know more about the fascinating Deborah Devonshire, Amazon describes her memoir, Wait For Me “is written with intense warmth, charm, and perception. A unique portrait of an age of tumult, splendor, and change, it is also an unprecedented look at the rhythms of life inside one of the great aristocratic families of England. With its razor-sharp portraits of the Duchess’s many friends and cohorts—politicians, writers, artists, sportsmen—it is truly irresistible reading, and will join the shelf of Mitford classics to delight readers for years to come.” It’s well worth a read. And for more on what was involved in bringing the estate back to life after WWII, Chatsworth,The House, is also excellent.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.
What a delightful treat to see these treasures. I am not suprised you are more interseted in china and I in the fashion and jewelry. Thank you very much for the lovely tours you have shared with us.
I can read between the lines – get on with the other post :). Show the dresses, already. 🙂
What an inventively charming way to display the jewelry, My mother’s china pattern, Charnwood, from Wedgwood has bugs in the design and this makes me want to gather a group of insect pins together, perhaps for DIY napkin rings.
Have you read this? The truth about posh table settings – Tatler Magazine
Frankly, I don’t believe I would enjoy dining with the author, although I agree that the guests should be as or more sparkling that the table settings and the wine.
Again I find myself truly enjoying your blog postings.
What a marvellous idea – DIY napkin rings featuring insect pins! Charnwood would make a wonderful backdrop for such project. I like the clear pink flowers with the grey/blue butterflies. An exuberant pattern with a fairly narrow colour scheme. Please share some pictures if you decide to go ahead!
I hadn’t come across the article, and it’s a bit biting, no? As you say, probably wouldn’t be close friends with the author. She clearly wouldn’t like my blog 🙂 And yes, I agree that guests could do a bit more to be engaged participants these days (all those distracting personal devices…).
Thanks so much for visiting and commenting; I love hearing from you. Knowing that someone is actually reading and enjoying the blog is very encouraging.
Have a good day,
Alas, I am not a duchess, so my jewels must be fake. Does this look like a good start to you?
It looks marvelous! The perfect colour, don’t you think? This is very exciting. It may take a while I amass your collection, but I can’t wait to see the finished table :).
Please keep me posted on your progress.
Have a good day.
As I type that butterfly is winging its way to me.
You are certainly correct about the limited color scheme of Charnwood, my dear mother used to despair when choosing linens and flowers for the table. Oddly, Wedgwood magazine advertisements of the 50’s show Charnwood on a mustard colored tablecloth. I’ve tried it and find that combination of colors jarring. If and when one sees it today it is most often seen with burgundy colored linens, again I have tried this and consider it unappealing. The most pleasing linen color to date for me has been a very soft, light brown, drawn from the stems and some of the foliage. Mother stuck to white.
She always used uncolored crystal which I have also inherited. Your beautiful collection of colored crystal, especially your Murano pieces have provoked a desire in me for some sparkling color on this table. The search is on for just the right thing, I am considering glassware in a peculiar shade of green called Stiegel green, made in the late 40’s and early 50’s, The same time period of Charnwood’s popularity. It has a slightly blue cast and seems to go well with the green of the leaves Unfortunately, it is most available in a design by Morgantown commonly called Golfball for the spiky not dimpled clear ball on the stem. Charnwood strikes me as more meadow like than golf course.
While I would probably not have selected Charnwood for myself I cherish these dishes and the memories of my mother and I carefully washing them after family celebrations. She always told the same tragic story of why she chose the pattern and I clearly understood how much they meant to her. Like you I have more china, dishes, crystal and flatware than anyone needs, but I am addicted, as you most surely understand.
Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement.
So much of what we love about tableware is sentimental; keeping our memories alive is important! I just helped one of my kids style some inherited china and give it a cohesive, modern look. They would never have chosen the pattern themselves, but it was important to them to keep it and they wanted to use it. A quick trip to HomeGoods and we were in business with inexpensive linens and glassware.
As to the glasses, Elizabeth, you might try scrolling through Replacements’ site for some depression glass. Try searching for “green goblets”, then choosing water or iced tea, and Tiffin Franciscan, Morgantown, Libbey. Fostoria, Cambridge, Franciscan. I just tried it and got 68 hits in stock. If you expand it to not in stock you an always search on eBay for any items of interest. The colours on the Replacements site can be off, so if you’re unsure, you might try purchasing one, or going to eBay and seeing what they have in similar patterns to get a better read on the colour. Also, Elise Abrams has a lot of venetian glass, and sending her a picture of your plate is another option. She’s good about sending pictures of what she has in stock and does very good photos for colour clarity.
As you were kind enough to make book recommendations in your blog, I thought you might have an interest in one I recently ordered. You can read bout it here: http://littleaugury.blogspot.com/2017/10/cathy-grahams-second-bloom.html
Elizabeth, the book looks lovely! I’m ordering it as we speak. It’ll make a great gift for hubby to tuck under the tree – he’s always looking for ideas. 🙂 Thanks!