Cavendish Decorative and Fine Arts Society

The Art Society Cavendish



left click for a larger image Eyam Hall heritage project Eyam Hall heritage project Eyam Hall dolls silver spectacle case

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The group is continuing with book cleaning in the attics at Chatsworth. Each book is cleaned and assessed for its condition and then entered on the computer. They are making good progress with the stalwart group of volunteers but welcome any new member who wishes to join.

Contact Diana Walters at

The collection at Chatsworth includes a huge copper botterie de cuisine, a collection of historic kitchenware which includes the variety of pots, pans and utensils that were essential to the kitchen of a large country house.  Today the botterie de cuisine includes hundreds of individual objects and is an amalgamation of several different sets made  for the various houses of the Dukes of Devonshire, including Chatsworth, Hardwick Hall, Bolton Abbey, Devonshire House and Chiswick.  Many of the pieces are engraved with the name of the house they were originally made for.

A project is currently under way to improve the long-term storage of the botterie de cuisine.  In conjunction with this project we aim to fully catalogue the collection and undertake further research into individual pieces.  Furthermore, key items have been selected for display at the Chatsworth Farm Shop and these require cleaning and cataloguing before this can take place.

We would like to invite NADFAS to take part in this project, with an inital focus on the cleaning and cataloguing of objects for the Chatsworth Farm Shop.  This will include the various -items from the botterie de cuisine which are already on display there.  Full training in the cleaning of copperware will be provided, in addition to guidance regarding research and cataloguing of individual objects.

If you are interested in this project please contact Diana Walters, Tel: 01629 815366.

2012 - 2014

Chatsworth House Library

In 2012 Cavendish volunteers started cleaning books from the Chatsworth Library.

This may conjure up a picture of a little light dust0ing in the magnificent Library – surrounded by some of the sumptuous books which make up the collection of over 40,000 volumes.  However the reality is slightly different.  James Towe (Archivist and Librarian) led us up to the East Attic at the top of the House.  He showed us several rooms stacked with books, shelves round the room, and central bookcases.  These make up some of the collection not normally on display to the public.  He warned us that conditions 'could be cramped and cold' – true – we stopped in February as there is minimal heating up there.

Four of us at a time work in pairs.  We meet on a Tuesday morning for three hours.  Each volume is cleaned externally with a dry brush – fanning the brush strokes out from a central point on the board rather than along the edges.  The book is recorded, including the historical shelf mark.  A score for the condition, stability and conversation priority is allocated using dedicated guide lines.  Delicate and collapsing bookd are secured with special tape. 

They may not be considered the cream of the Collection but if you like books there are some fascinating titles which surely deserve to be opened.  Harvestinfg ants and Trapdoor spiders (with illustrations) published 1874.  Travels in Europe  Africa and Asia (1795), or the more esoteric Hausa Language dictionary (1900).  Several volumes have bookplates from Henry Cavendish and continuing the scientific theme – Principals od science, logic and scientific method (volume1) 1874.  Personal gifts to the Duke sometimes include messages from humble and devoted authors.

We have a rota of helpers, worked out on a monthly basis so that there is always someone experienced present.  Please contact me if you would be interested in joining.

My thanks to James Towe for his help and patience in supervising the project.

                                                                                    DI WALTERS


During March 2011 we ran a Heritage Project at Eyam Hall checking and cleaning the books in the library.  We had had a similar project here about three years ago.

Nicola Wright, the owner, was very welcoming and helped us with the dusting, checking the books for damage or infestation, and cleaning the bookcases themselves.  We were provided with white gloves to wear so that we didn't damage the books.  Paint brushes to dust the covers and sides and paper so that we could record anything that needed to be repaired.  All the books had previously been indexed so that we knew in which bookcase they belonged, on which shelf and in which order they should be placed.  Some of the books were very old and interesting.  Several were from the 16th century and many were about Derbyshire and the Wright  family.

 Although there were not many of us we got the job done and enjoyed the Hall, the company, and most of all, the books!


Six members have been working on a Heritage Project at Bakewell Museum.

We have made Tudor costumes, including hats to be worn by children visiting the Museum.  We were ably led by Val Sidery, an ex textile teacher, who designed the patterns and gave us invaluable help.  We were able to choose our fabrics from a large store at the museum.  We have made both men’s and women’s hats and bonnets.  Some of us made partlets (jackets) and some trousers and skirts for various ages and sizes of children.

The Museum made us feel very much at home, and although we worked through January and February we were nice and warm and enjoyed hot drinks, biscuits and sometimes scones!

We will be displaying our work at the April meeting at Cliff College.  There will be photos of youngsters wearing the costumes and we may also have a “Tudor Lady” modelling our garments for us!

CDFAS launched a Heritage & Conservation Group. They have worked on a winter 2005-6 project at Eyam Hall on their wonderful library, with many 17th century books. These having been dusted over and checked for damage are now to be catalogued on a database. Under Mrs Nicola Wright’s guidance the group have fulfilled a useful task for the Wright family who have lived at Eyam Hall for some 400 years. The family portraits have been dusted and checked and finally for this season, the tapestries are to be cleaned and checked. It has been painstaking and interesting work and very worthwhile.

Work resumed at EYAM HALL in January 2007 under the direction of Mrs Nicola Wright.  Volunteers  have been sorting and listing late 19th century and early 20th century clothes and household items belonging to the Wright family.  They have had a fascinating glimpse into the past looking at undergarments, uniforms, furs, table linen and baby clothes and much more.  Also beautiful embroidery, lace and other needlework worked by Irene Wright who was born in the late 19th century.  The group have had enjoyed unwrapping and looking at all these treasures, some of which will later be shown in themed exhibitions at Eyam Hall.

Cataloguing and checking for damage is undertaken by this group led by Pat Paulett  01629 812521.


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This project is to record public freestanding and decorative sculptures in Derbyshire and we are starting in Buxton where there must be quite a number of public sculptures. Ecclesiastical sculpture or war memorials will not be included unless of outstanding interest.

The record will be photographic and descriptive, giving the exact location. I have forms to fill in for each sculpture from Robert Burstow of Derby University.

In January 2007 James Kellie has photographed two of the items, a selection is introduced above.

Four members with an intimate knowledge of the town have set about recording the noteworthy monuments and sculptures found around Buxton for a National Recording Project, which is being put together county by county. The Derbyshire records are being compiled by Dr Robert Burstow of Derby University, who has sent us rather complicated forms for each monument.

Margaret Schofield and Ann Vessey have made an excellent start on making records for all the urns, drinking fountains, the war memorial, central to the ‘slopes’ overlooking the crescent with it’s decorative Cavendish Coat of Arms.

Geoff Willis and Keith Robinson will be tackling tombstones, obelisks and we hope they will find statues at Pooles Cavern Garden.

James Kellie will follow in their wake with his camera poised to eventually make an archive CD of the Buxton monuments.

Angela Kellie  Co-ordinator


last edited 30/09/2017 14:19:47