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Newsletter - June 2011


Horses, Women and Great Country Houses

Which, asked Lucy Worsley, did the first Duke of Newcastle love most? William Cavendish, grandson of Bess of Hardwick, was born towards the end of the Elizabethan age, and died in the reign of Charles II. He lived through the tumultuous times of the English Civil War, and spent sixteen years in exile with the royal court while Cromwell was in power.

He grew up in Welbeck Abbey, the economic centre of a vast estate; later he built Bolsover Castle in a mixture of styles – the new classicism and the mediaeval – which was a house for entertainment and leisure. He was perhaps the most accomplished horseman at court and he entertained his guests with displays of horsemanship in his specially built manèges.

William became riding instructor to Charles, Prince of Wales, and also General of the King’s Army in the North, during the Civil War. However, his record as general was disastrous and he suffered a huge defeat at Marston Moor. After this he fled into exile to the court of the Queen. Here he met the love of his life, Margaret Lucas, his first wife having died. She was accomplished and clever, although younger than William, and is perhaps now more famous than her husband; she earned the nickname Mad Madge for her writings and feminism.

At the end of Parliamentarian rule, William Cavendish returned to the court of Charles II in London, to be made the Duke of Newcastle (Bolsover Castle was his New Castle). His wife died before him, but he went on to build his last great house, Nottingham Castle. As Lucy Worsley said he was a fascinating but flawed character, and her outline of his extraordinary life was delivered with humour and verve. An excellent lecture judging by the laughter and applause at the end.

Bolsover House is now part of English Heritage, for more information go to

Duke of Newcastle

Doddington Hall and Gardens

The visit to Doddington Hall and Gardens now has a report on our website – just go here

Home Hale Hall, Summer Garden Party, 21st July

Our next event is the Summer Garden Party, which we hope will not be subject to the thunderstorms we experienced last year. Holme Hale Hall is part of the National Gardens Scheme and our event will give us access to this notable garden as well as enjoying one of Gail Dicker’s famous teas. If you have not already sent in your application, do join us for this occasion.Diaghilev


For those who were intrigued by the Diaghilev talk and who would like to know more about his life, a member has personally recommended the following book as being excellent and available to borrow from the library:
Diaghilev by Sjeng Scheijen

The member said “It's very readable and a warts and all type of biography. He was a fascinating person and this really comes across in the book.”

Email members

If you change your email address, please don’t forget to tell us. The easiest way is to go on to our website, click on the blue tab, Contact Us, and then use the box on the left hand side of the page to fill in your name and new email and click Send. It’s as easy as that. Your new address will wing its way direct to the Publicity department.

If you have difficulty printing your flyers or any other problem with email communication let us know at  We don’t want you to lose touch!

What’s on and Where? : an Update

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art -
A World Observed – 2010: Photographs by Dorothy Bohm
21 June – 28 August 2011

The Face of the Artist: Photographs by John Hedgecoe
21 June – 4 December 2011

The Courtauld Gallery -
Toulouse-Lautrec And Jane Avril – Beyond the Moulin Rouge
16 June – 18 September 2011

National Gallery, London -
Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces before 1500
6 July – 2 October 2011

Forests, Rocks, Torrent: Norwegian and Swiss Landscapes from the Lunde Collection
22 June – 18 September 2011

National Portrait Gallery London -
BP Portrait Award 2011 until 18 September 2011
Camden Town and Beyond until 31 August 2011

Royal Academy London -
Summer Exhibition 2011    7 June – 15 August 2011

The Wallace Collection
download the current guide at

British Museum, London -
Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World
extended until 17 July 2011

Treasures of Heaven saints, relics and devotion in medieval Europe
23 June – 9 October 2011

Tate Britain, London -
Watercolour, until 21 August
Romantics, 9 August 2010 – 3 June 2012

Tate Modern, London -
Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, until 11 September 2011

Imperial War Museum -
Women War Artists, until 8 January 2012


Our next online newsletter will be published in September.


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