The Devonshire Inheritance: Five Centuries of Collecting at Chatsworth was an exhibition of material from Chatsworth, the primary home of the Cavendish family-the earls and then dukes of Devonshire-since the 16th century. One of the most beautiful country houses in England, Chatsworth contains fabulous treasures of every kind and from every period and region of the world. This exhibition presented a unique opportunity to see great works of art, including rare cabinet paintings, old master and architectural drawings, masterpieces of the great gold- and silversmiths, porcelains, clocks, gems and jewelry, natural curiosities, scientific instruments and mechanical devices, early photographs, and books and manuscripts from the greatest private library in the world. The guest curator of the exhibition was Nicolas Barker, formerly Deputy Keeper at the British Library, Assistant Keeper at London's National Portrait Gallery, a visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, and a fellow of the British Academy. He is the author of more than 20 books. Composed of more than 200 works of art, the exhibition highlighted the family's private collection, not normally on view to the public and rarely exhibited previously. It presented a comprehensive portrait of five centuries of artistic connoisseurship and intellectual pursuits and was organized chronologically by generation, the objects included in each section having been carefully selected to illustrate the interests and historical roles played by successive family members. Bess of Hardwick, one of the most remarkable figures of Elizabethan England and from whose second son (the first Earl of Devonshire) the present line of dukes descends, built the first Chatsworth and was represented in the exhibition by early architectural drawings and a rare letter from Queen Elizabeth I.