Michael Craig-Martin and a ride in a golf buggy……..

DSC04280There is always a good reason to visit Chatsworth, wherever your interests lie.  Perhaps you love walking round stately homes and imagining what it would be like to live there. Maybe you prefer to roam through the acres of beautifully tended gardens in search of inspiration for your own garden. It could be that none of that is for you and you have set yourself the pleasant  task of exploring the many scenic paths which criss-cross the Chatsworth estate, providing vistas of rocky outcrops, woods, vast fields of sheep and even the odd hunting tower! You might even go for the delicious cakes and unusual gifts on offer in the shops and restaurants, or as was the case with me recently, you may go to see an art exhibition.

Pitch fork (pink) Michael Craig-Martin

Pitch fork (pink) Michael Craig-Martin

Every year, Chatsworth hosts a variety of modern art exhibitions both inside and outside the House. This one was by Michael Craig-Martin, who, throughout his career has explored the expressive potential in commonplace objects and images. Or, as The Telegraph put it, “A strange collection of oversized everyday objects has landed in the grounds of Chatsworth. It could only be the work of the artist Michael Craig-Martin.”

The works were spread out across the gardens and because my companion was not able to walk too far, we decided to take a tour in a golf buggy. This was very easy and all we had to do was to choose a time slot and take a couple of time tokens from a board, to guarantee our place. It turned out to have been a great idea. The buggies seat six people, but we had ours to ourselves and were treated to a comprehensive tour of the gardens, stopping along the way for photos and for the driver to give his commentary. Adding their own “je ne sais quoi” to the garden, we saw sculptures of a giant pink pitchfork, a red wheelbarrow, a massive purple hammer and enormous blue scissors. A huge pink shoe perched on the lawn in front of the house itself and oversized purple, orange and blue umbrellas lay next to the canal pond.

Wheelbarrow (red) Michael Craig-Martin

Wheelbarrow (red) Michael Craig-Martin

If you are less mobile, the buggy tours are a great way to see more during your visit. There are also rides available to the woods and lakes behind the House. Click here for more information about accessibility at Chatsworth.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day and are looking forward to the next  exciting outdoor sculpture exhibition, “Sotheby’s Beyond Limits”, which will take place between 8th September and 26th October. Now firmly established as one of the leading events in the artistic calendar, the exhibition has hosted works by artists such as Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Manolo Valdes and Jaume Plensa in recent years. Works by many international artists are spread out and thoughtfully placed to best effect across the extensive Chatsworth gardens. If you love modern art and even if you don’t, it is well worth the trip. If you don’t like the works, (and you can’t hate them all), you can admire the gardens instead!!

To check our availability during the exhibition and other events at Chatsworth, please click here.

The Emperor Fountain, Chatsworth House, taken from our golf buggy.

The Emperor Fountain, Chatsworth House, taken from our golf buggy.

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