Ok, this isn’t decorative paneling, it’s a bookcase – but the principle is the same! This bookcase was originally in Devonshire House, the London house of the Dukes of Devonshire. When the Prince Regent (later George IV) stayed there, his Catholic mistress, Maria Fitzherbert, was lodged in the adjoining room, and the Prince used the secret door to visit her. He married her secretly in 1785.
When Devonshire House was demolished in the 1920s, the bookcase was installed in the day nursery at Chatsworth. The present Dowager Duchess later decreed that it was "highly unsuitable for a nursery."
The bookcase was Lot 137 in the recent Sotheby’s sale of Chatsworth pieces. It sold for £145,250.