Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire was a remarkable lady and someone for whom I had great admiration and respect. The youngest of the legendary Mitford sisters and chatelaine of Chatsworth, she led an extraordinary life and her death in 2014, at the age of 94, marked the end of an era for many.
The Duchess was a woman of elegant taste and sensibility. The wonderful objects with which she lived illustrate so much of her story, from exquisite jewels gifted by her husband to a rare copy of Brideshead Revisited personally inscribed by her friend Evelyn Waugh; all tell of a life well lived.
Painted by Lucien Freud and photographed by Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Cecil Beaton and Norman Parkinson, it is the contents of her final home, The Old Vicarage at Edensor on the Chatsworth estate, which perhaps paint the most vivid final portrait.
A number of the Duchess’s personal belongings from The Old Vicarage are now being brought together in an historic auction, taking place at Sotheby’s on March 3 2016.
The auction will offer a fascinating collection of fine and decorative art, furniture, jewels and books from the Duchess of Devonshire’s library, including numerous special signed editions. Also included in the sale are some wonderful pieces of Elvis Presley ephemera, including a signed photo and books, all testaments to the Duchess’s adoration of the star.