IT had been the Duchess of Devonshire’s own idea: if she could train dogs to sit, why not have them do so for a portrait.
The season-long exhibition that will be unveiled at her home, Chatsworth House, next Spring will feature canines of every breed, being obedient or not, in an attempt to draw an artistic line under man’s relationship with his best friend.
Pictures and other ephemera loaned from public and private collections will be shown alongside the Devonshire Collection and will range in date from ancient objects to the present day.
Alex Hodby, Chatsworth’s curator of exhibitions, said the Duchess “combines a love of dogs with a great interest in collecting modern and contemporary works of art and commissioning portraits of family dogs”.
To encourage pet owners to bring their dogs along when the exhibition opens on March 23, Chatsworth says it is “looking at range of ideas to become as dog friendly as possible”.
Dogs on leads are already allowed to explore the house’s 105-acre garden and its 1,000-acre park.