Chatsworth has a long and illustrious involvement with the arts and with certain individual artists and of course the Sotheby’s sometimes controversial ‘Beyond Limits’ sculpture shows (Sept 2- Nov 9). “Personally, I think it’s wonderful that the collection continues to live and grow, as no two people will agree on what they like – old or new – which is what makes this mixture of the historical and contemporary so fascinating.”
This is the first time that an artist has spent such an intensive period painting at Chatsworth , making Lewis feel extremely privileged to be doing so.
“I have started by producing a lot of paintings and drawings directly in the landscape and gardens as I like to paint outside to get the feel for a place. I am also making a series of large scale studio oil paintings, developing themes and subjects from the work made on site. If you visit the central area of the Paxton Conservative in the gardens over the next few weeks you should be able to see the first of these on display.”
Anyone who has been following his work so far will probably gather that he has become quite fascinated with the way water is so fundamental to the experience of visiting Chatsworth. Following the flow of the water from its main source in the lakes above the house to its entry to the Derwent River that winds through the park. The use of water is not only decorative but functional in that it still powers an electric generator (originally one of the first of its kind). Most interesting is the way that the movement of water sparkling its way down through the estate seems to animate the landscape and create a sense of somewhere that is alive and vital.
Lewis very much wants this body of work to be far more than just ‘Views of Chatsworth’ but to make work that gets into the fabric of the place and tries to say something about it. The title ‘Chatsworth Reflected’ hopefully implies treading the less obvious and more thought provoking path.