Artful use of dynasty DNA on show at Chatsworth House

Visitors inspect the art installation.
Visitors inspect the art installation.
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Chatsworth House has revealed what it has been called its most important art installation since its sculpture gallery in 1832.

The walls of the North Sketch Gallery at the stately home – the seat of the Duke of Devonshire – have been covered in ceramic blocks representing the DNA strand of ‘Everyman’.

This is flanked by the DNA profiles of the Duke and Duchess, their son Lord Burlington and his wife, Lady Burlington.

The masterpiece, named The North Sketch Sequence, has been created by artist Jacob van der Beugel after he was commissioned by the Duke and Duchess and the Chatsworth House Trust.

DNA samples were taken from Devonshire family members and the results translated onto the hand-crafted ceramic panels.

An aspect of each family member’s personality – from a walk around Chatsworth garden to stitching patterns – are captured onto glazed pieces in their DNA sequence.

Mr van der Beugel said: “In the Everyman portrait, areas are highlighted by mirrors, where the viewer becomes part of the portrait.

“Highlighting the importance of visitors to Chatsworth, it is of significance that it is the central portrait, symbolic of our common humanity and of a more democratic age.

“The portrait was created from composite DNA sequences and is therefore ‘everyone’, anonymous and idealised.”

The artwork took four years to complete and four months to install at the Grade I-listed building, which has been home to the Devonshire family for more than 400 years.

n Chatsworth reopens to the public on Sunday.