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DateLecture
12 November 2019Debo - Mitford, Cavendish, Devonshire, Duchess and Housewife - 1920-2014
10 December 2019A Portrait of Jewels: Following Missing Treasures Through Canvas
14 January 2020The Silk Road and the Arts of China
11 February 2020The Wonder of the Times: Thomas Lawrence in Bath
10 March 2020Rosalba Carriera, Painter to the Grand Tour, Great Venetian Painter
14 April 2020From Restoration to Reformation: Theatre from Charles II to David Garrick
12 May 2020Field of the Cloth of Gold
09 June 2020The Last Supper at Pompeii

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Debo - Mitford, Cavendish, Devonshire, Duchess and Housewife - 1920-2014 Simon Seligman Tuesday 12 November 2019

Deborah (‘Debo’) Devonshire, the youngest of the Mitford sisters and wife of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, was hefted by marriage to one of Europe’s greatest treasure houses, Chatsworth. In the second half of the 20th century, in partnership with her husband, she imbued it with a spirit, elegance and sense of welcome that transformed it from being the worn-out survivor of decades of taxation, war and social change into one of the best-loved, most-emulated and heavily-visited historic houses, gardens and estates in the country. With responsibility for Lismore Castle and Bolton Abbey as well, no wonder her passport stated her profession as ‘housewife’. Her charm lived in her unique turn of phrase, her stoic Mitfordian perspective on life’s challenges, her curiosity about everyone she met, her stylish beauty, quick wit and delight in all that life offered her.