RIP The Duchess of Devonshire

The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, born Deborah Mitford, passed away this week.

This photograph by Cecil Beaton shows her at Chatsworth.

The youngest and best-like of the Mitford Sisters, most obituaries have been lamenting her loss as the last of her kind, as if England will not produce any more eccentric and interesting whilst slightly counter-culture grandes dames. My advice to women is always to be themselves, but be inspired by amazing women who came before them, so I hope that people will take the time to read her obituary:

Dowager Duchess of Devonshire - obituary - Telegraph

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire has died aged 94 | Daily Mail Online

Like so many of her generation, the Duchess was not given a formal education, but it is too easy to dismiss her as a silly toff. She was as bright as her husband, both in business and in their interest in contemporary art and books - he owned the fabulous Heywood Hill bookshop.

The Duchess herself wrote several books, although from an Amazon search that might not be quite so obvious ...

... they can be found here on Amazon UK, although what I really love is the series she did for the BBC now available on DVD: Chatsworth [DVD].

AD Remembers: Deborah Duchess of Devonshire : Architectural Digest
A Noble Vision at Chatsworth : Architectural Digest

THE DUCHESS | Mark D. Sikes
MORE DEBO | Mark D. Sikes

I've already written about my admiration for archaeologist Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire (PhDiva: Is Brainy The New Sexy ...?) ...

But the biography I cannot recommend enough is Mary Lovell's gripping and engrosing: Bess of Hardwick: First Lady of Chatsworth. Much married Bess was a formidable matriarch related to almost everyone of interest in Elizabethan England, making her story so fascinating. Somehow she alone survived at attempt to marry a relative to an heir to the throne, and of course she was for a time Mary Scot's jailer.

Bess of Hardwick: First Lady of Chatsworth - Kindle UK and Kindle US