Client: The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire
Location: Chatsworth, United Kingdom
Completion date: 2014
Jacob van der Beugel
Jacob van der Beugel
To create an entire handmade ceramic room that depicted an exact translation of the mt DNA of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, their Son and Daughter-in-law, Lord and Lady Burlington, and an anonymous portrait of everyman. To create contemporary yet sympathetic portraits that not only commented on the scientific profiles of the sitters but explored notions of communal humanity. To integrate the 659 handmade ceramic panels into approximately 150 square meters of wall area into a grade 1 listed building. This is a permanent installation.
The goals were to sympathetically integrate the installation in a dynamic way, but retain the quality and attention to detail that Chatsworth House embodies. To respect the architectural details and embrace their continuity throughout the house, and combine them with the design in a minimalist way. To link both North Elevation and South Elevation through the use of handmade mirrors and ceramic frames, introducing an overwhelmingly beautiful light, and increasing the perceived space. Integral to this was the panel coursing/layout which continues unbroken around the entire space, bringing continuity with the outside stonework. To effortlessly install the handmade panels into an irregular wall area by treating each section of space individually, thus ensuring a beautiful fit with the surrounding architectural details. Ultimately attempting to fuse Portraiture with Architecture and Science. This integration was of the utmost importance since the installation is permanent. If the work felt contrived or alien then it wouldn’t be embedded into the very fabric of the building. It is designed so that it feels that the work has always been there and could go nowhere else.
Jacob van der Beugel conceived the idea/artistic design and created the handmade ceramic work in his UK studio. Inskip Jenkins (Peter Inskip) designed the gallery space and designed alongside Jacob van der Beugel the Mirrored North Elevation. They collaborated with how the panels would be integrated into the building. Particular attention was paid to the panels' relationship to the historic cornice/ architraving and newly created fireplaces.Bart Stockman collaborated with Jacob van der Beugel to devise the Panel Layout and also the unique stainless steel fixing brackets, which facilitate installation and maintenance. Joanna Bird (art curator) assisted with her knowledge of Chatsworth and provided conceptual continuity. Hannah Obee and Matthew Hirst (Head of Collections) collaborated with Jacob with historical information relevant to the project. The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire provided their support and helped with key design decisions.
This project is the largest ceramics installation inside a historic home in the United Kingdom. It took 4 years to complete. Each of the 5000 DNA inserts is unique. The DNA sampled is passed through the maternal line, providing an interesting take on inheritance and male lineage.The work describes where each sitter is unique but also what they have in common with everyman. The visitors is able to view themselves through little mirror inserts, creating a portrait of themselves. The conceptual significance is that the visitor is of acknowledged importance to the house's longevity.