CHATSWORTH: Exhibitions launch new season

Chatsworth House new season exhiition by William Turnbull ...  Large Horse 1990 .  Picture Chris Lawton
Chatsworth House new season exhiition by William Turnbull ... Large Horse 1990 . Picture Chris Lawton
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AS artworks they couldn’t be more different.

But the sculptures and paintings of William Turnbull - with the watercolours of Lady Emma Tennant - are both star exhibitions together at Chatsworth House after it opened for the new season on Sunday.

The Duke of Devonshire Peregrine Cavendish and the Duchess have long been fans of Turnbull, a major figure in post-war British art, who died last year.

And Lady Emma, the Duke’s sister, put together the exhibition of plant paintings after the duke suggested it as a present for her 70th birthday this month.

Ten landscape drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn are also revealed at the stately home for the first time.

When asked if he had a favourite exhibition the Duke replied: “No because they are so completely different.

“I think having admired Turnbull for so many years to have so much of his work here is a terrific privilege and we are very excited about that.

“This is familiar work to us but to have the works in the gallery running alongside the sculptures in the garden is something we have never done before.

“It’s always very exciting to start the new season, this year there is more than ever going on.”

The Duke also said visitors would be “very interested” to see his sister’s exhibition.

Keen gardener and botanical artist Lady Emma has painted favourite plants - including many from the garden at Chatsworth.

The Cavendish banana and Rhododendron barbatum, which will be in flower as the exhibition opens on March 24, feature as do plants from 150 years ago.

A plant list unearthed from the Chatsworth archives proved inspirational in showing specimens that were introduced to Chatsworth by the sixth duke and under the supervision of renowned gardener, then architect and MP, Joseph Paxton.

Lady Emma, who lives in Scotland, said: “I would say I used to be a gardener who painted and now I’m a painter who gardens.

“The plant list is gold dust to a garden historian - it was a mixture of plants which we no longer grow and things that we do.

“Paxton turned out to be a genius and at that time plants were being introduced from all over the world.”

William Turnbull facts

- The William Turnbull exhibition was planned before his death in November

- It includes several large-scale outdoor sculptures in the gardens of Chatsworth as well as paintings in the gallery

- The artist’s son Alex Turnbull said it was a ‘huge honour’ to have his work displayed in such a ‘beautiful setting’