With a collection that includes a crimson damask bed likely made for King George II and David Roentgen cabinetry, England’s Chatsworth House in Derbyshire has no shortage of historic furniture. Yet despite its 500-year history, Chatsworth refuses to look backward. For its latest exhibition, the stately home has opened its doors to a troupe of 16 contemporary furniture designers from around the world. Mirror Mirror: Reflections on Design at Chatsworth, running until October 1, is co-curated by Alex Hodby, senior curator of programme at Chatsworth, and writer, historian, and curator Glenn Adamson. The show’s title, explained Adamson, illustrates the intention to “look both ways,” and create dialogue across the Chatsworth’s immense art collection, amassed by 16 generations of the Cavendish family.
Yet it’s also a reference to fairy-tale illusions, and indeed, in this show, nothing is quite what it seems. In Chatsworth’s state music room, one of the property’s most famous works of art, a trompe l’oeil painting of a violin, appears to hang from a real metal peg on the door itself.
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