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Harewood House

John Varley at Harewood House

John Varley (1778 – 1842) was a key figure in the history of the development of British watercolours. From 1800 he studied at Dr Monro’s Academy and made early sketching tours to Wales from 1798 – 1802.  He was initially strongly influenced by Thomas Girtin. A founder member of the Society of Watercolour Artists in London in 1804, he would go on to exhibit over 700 works there. As a teacher, he impacted the next generation of watercolourists, counting among his successful pupils David Cox, Copley Fielding, John Linnell,
Samuel Palmer and Peter de Wint.

Varley first came into contact with Edward, Viscount Lascelles, son of the first Earl of Harewood and an avid collector of watercolours, in 1801. Two years later, in 1803, he visited Yorkshire and painted a number of accomplished views of Harewood House and one of the Castle.  This group of works was an important early commission for Varley. The watercolours displayed on this wall – Harewood House from the North West and Harewood House from the South West – are of considerable scale and ambition. They give far more architectural detail than the earlier more famous works by J.M.W Turner, also commissioned by Edward Lascelles.  The smaller Harewood House from the South by Varley shows the house from a distance, set within the landscape with a felled tree and woodsman in the foreground.  Boldly painted, it is undoubtedly influenced by Turner’s Harewood House from the South East but the tones are paler (displayed on the central wall).

It was only natural that the romantic medieval ruined castle, dating back to 1366, would attract visiting artists and it was painted by Varley, as well as his predecessors Turner and Girtin.  In Varley’s work, the castle is distant, partially covered in foliage and the broad landscape and foreground figures dominate the composition (displayed above the fireplace).

A further watercolour of the ‘model’ village at Harewood is also attributed to Varley or his circle (displayed next to the fireplace). The village drew the attention of the pastel painter, John Russell, who visited in 1802 and noted that the buildings were all ‘of stone, with a regularity and neatness that I never saw exceeded with a wide main street’, before being escorted through the arch by the steward to visit the house itself. Edward, Viscount Lascelles, who died in 1814, also owned an early view of Snowdon by Varley, but does not seem to have patronised him later in his career.  Varley went on to write a number of important books on watercolour painting, including Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Design (1816 – 18), and invented his own range of colours. This fine group of watercolours illustrates a key early commission when the artist was still painting views of country houses before developing an accomplished landscape style influenced by the 17th century artist Claude Lorrain.

Dining in Style – Victorian service in the State Dining Room

Visit Harewood to see a milliefiori service

Visitors to Harewood House this spring bank holiday (14th April – 17th April 2017) will be treated to a fantastic table display in the State Dining Room. Emulating a Victorian dinner service, the stunning table is decorated with beautiful millefiori glassware service and silver candelabra.

Daily throughout the spring bank holiday, our guides will be giving a free, introductory talk at 11:30 on food and drink for visitors in the State Floor.

About the Millefiori Service

Baccarat enamelled and gilt glass service in the Venetian-style with flower-sprays (millefiori) inset and gilt foliage. Cut star on plates, white foliage on wine glasses. Dated pre-1864 (as recorded in Hamilton Palace inventory).

The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers) used to describe a distinctive glass pattern. This flower like pattern is produced by heating a bundle of thin glass rods of different colours until the rods fuse together.  It is a term that came into common usage in the Victorian period and was included in the Oxford English Dictionary from 1849.

Visit Yorkshire to see porcelain and glassware at Harewood

This millefiori service at Harewood consists of 242 pieces: two tier centre pieces, vases and covers, tazzas, bowl, bowls on feet, small and medium plates, dishes, finger bowls, wine glasses, liqueur glasses, tumblers, water jugs and decanters.

This spring bank holiday you will see one third of the service laid out on the State Dining Room table.  The ‘service à la française’ was a style of dining popular in the Victorian period where various dishes for a meal are served at the same time, contrary to ‘service à la russe’, where dishes were brought to each guest by a footman.

On the State Dining Room table this spring you will also see sugared almonds, fruits and flavoured jellies, all common sweet treats served at a Victorian dinner party.

Below Stairs, you can see copper moulds used for jellies by 19th century chefs in the Old Kitchen.

A Unique Provenance

Tracing the provenance of items such as this service can be challenging. We found a reference in the Chesterfield House Inventory from 1920, (the London home of the 6th Earl of Harewood) as ‘coming from Hamilton Palace’.

From recent discussions with the Museum of Scotland, we know the service was originally purchased by the 11th Duke and Duchess of Hamilton for their new London townhouse before it was taken to Hamilton Palace in Scotland sometime between 1866 and 1870.

Hamilton Palace, located 10 miles from Glasgow, was seat of the Duke of Hamilton from 1642. The superb Hamilton Palace collection consisted of furniture, antiquities, fine and decorative art, and was so grand it rivaled the royal collection.

During the mid-19th century, much of the collection had to be sold due to debts of £1.5 million with the first major sale taking place in 1882.

In 1895, the 13th Duke of Hamilton, Lieutenant Alfred Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, inherited the dukedom, property and debts. These debts led to a final sale and auction which marked the ultimate dispersal of the Hamilton Palace collection in 1919.

The story doesn’t end there; the Palace itself was demolished in 1927 due to subsidence caused by coals mines owned by the Hamilton family.

Visit Leeds to see porcelain and glassware at Harewood House

This bank holiday (14th – 17th April 2017) the service is displayed as part of our year-long focus on Harewood’s Victorian history. See this service for a limited time only and enjoy all the Victorian Harewood displays throughout the House.

Harewood Volunteer Programme – why not join us?

Now in its 19th year, the Harewood Volunteer Programme continues to go from strength to strength. In 2016, over 18,000 hours were given by volunteers, supporting Harewood House Trust. With over 200 returning volunteers, the programme, and importantly the people who give their time, are an integral part of the charity.

Each year, all Harewood’s dedicated volunteers attend a Welcome Day as Harewood House once again prepares to open its doors on 24th March. The atmosphere is always fantastic as old friends and new gather together to preview what’s in store for the forthcoming year. This year, a focus on our Victorian heritage awaits with rare objects owned by Queen Victoria on display alongside costumes from ITV’s Victoria series.

Of the 200 volunteers who regularly give their time, over half are based in the House where they play a vital role welcoming visitors. They cast a watchful eye over the rooms they are caring for making sure that our visitors, members, coach groups and schools get the best out of their time in the house.

Harewood House in Yorkshire has volunteeres

Mary Cook has volunteered in the house for over 13 years. Mary said, “I started volunteering after a friend recommended Harewood to me. 13 years later, I’m still enjoying meeting visitors and learning from them.

When you start volunteering at Harewood there isn’t a prerequisite to know everything but as you spend time in each room you gain more and more knowledge. After volunteering at Harewood I’m always buzzing and my mind is full of all the interesting people and fellow volunteers I have met that day.”

Volunteers in Yorkshire at Harewood House Farm Experience

Harewood’s Volunteer Programme extends far beyond the House with volunteers giving their time all year round in the Gardens, Bird Garden and Farm Experience. As a licensed zoo, Harewood’s Bird Garden supports students each year through the volunteer opportunities it offers. Many choose to use their time at Harewood to support further education and career ambitions in zoology and animal welfare.

With 120 acres of formal grounds including the Terrace, Himalayan Garden and Walled Garden, help and support from our dedicated band of garden volunteers is invaluable ensuring the grounds and gardens always look at their very best.

Volunteers at Harewood working in the garden

Alan Skedd, is in his 10th season as a Garden Volunteer. Alan said, “Volunteering is useful, productive and satisfying. I get pleasure from seeing how my efforts make a difference and I hope to continue volunteering until age and my health allows”.

Head Gardner, Trevor Nicholson said, “Our garden volunteers play a vital role in maintaining the grounds supporting with weeding, pruning and other tasks which can be endless in a place as large as Harewood.”

Every department from Marketing to Education values the important role that volunteers have in the Trust. At a time when the demand for volunteers is at an all-time high, we know that we are incredibly lucky to have the support and help of so many dedicated people.

To volunteer at Harewood, is to experience one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful houses and landscapes, and to be part of a very special team. Many volunteers return season after season, renewing friendships and deriving satisfaction knowing they have contributed to history of this great house.

If volunteering at Harewood is something that would appeal to you it is not too late to sign up before the House and grounds open on March 24th. There are many opportunities from the Bookshop which is entirely run and managed by volunteers, to the Shuttle Bus which was responsible for transporting over 21,000 people around Harewood in 2016.

To join the scheme or if you have any questions simply contact the Volunteer Coordinator on volunteer@harewood.org or visit our website.

The Antiques & Fine Art Fair

The Antiques & Fine Art Fair at Harewood returns to the spectacular surroundings of Harewood House at an earlier time of year, from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 May 2017. Organised by The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited, the fair is staged in a purpose-built marquee overlooking the stunning Capability Brown landscape towards the 18th century country house near Leeds in West Yorkshire, dubbed one of the great Treasure Houses of England.

The fair, supported by Knight Frank Harrogate, now in its 6th year, is a firm fixture in the diary for the discerning interior decorator or private buyer looking for distinctive, unusual and individual pieces for the home. There are around 30 exhibitors taking part, the majority being members of BADA or LAPADA, the leading UK dealers’ trade associations, and all abide by strict codes of practice.

One of the highlights of the fair is an important, possibly unique, pair of George III cast neo-classical silver vases made in London in 1792 by William Holmes, priced at £11,750 from Mary Cooke Antiques. This type of vase is extremely rare and the work of William Holmes is also scarce. These vases are particularly appropriate for Harewood, though not directly designed by Robert Adam, their form is strongly influenced by his design books and Adam worked extensively at Harewood during this period. From local silver dealer, Jack Shaw & Co of Ilkley is a Charles II lidded tankard, London 1682, POA. With London Silver Vaults dealer, Stephen Kalms Antiques also exhibiting, visitors will be spoilt for choice.

A visually interesting and decorative stand, always ablaze with light, is Fileman Antiques – one of the few specialist antique lighting and glass dealers – bringing a pair of cut glass and ormolu candelabra by F & C Osler, made around 1880, £3,200 and a pair of Regency cut glass drum base candlesticks, dated 1800, £5,000. Mark J West has a wide selection of antique and decorative glass including Art Deco vases, scent bottles and cocktail shakers. Glass has always been a highlight of fine dining and his stand has excellent examples of drinking glasses to suit all tastes. One particular decorative piece is a Biedermeier cup and saucer from Austria, c 1820, priced at £440. Carolyn Stoddart-Scott specialises in antique pottery, porcelain and decorative items with pieces by Sèvres, Worcester, Wedgwood and Coalport. For Harewood she is showing a set of six English pearlware plates decorated with peafowl, c 1800, POA.

An excellent collection of sculpture, both antique and contemporary can be found with Garret & Hurst Sculpture including Vanité, c 1886, by Henri Levasseur (1853-1934), £8,895 and Warthog by Robert Glen, £10,200. Robert Glen was born in Kenya in 1940 and his true love of the African bush has led to him to live in a simple camp with a studio in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, where he can sculpt and sketch the wildlife at first hand. Odyssey offers Egyptian, Greek and other antiquities from the classical period spanning thousands of years of history. This is a fascinating stand to linger over and highlights of interest include an imposing Roman portrait head of a man in fine grain marble, dated c 1st-2nd century AD. The short wavy hairstyle is typical of that sported by members of the Imperial families or military commanders of the time although the identity of this man remains a mystery. It is priced at £3,250. From a different part of the world comes an eastern Greek banded lydion (perfume container), which dates to the mid 6th century BC and was probably used to contain baccaris, a perfume base oil for which Sardis in Lydia was noted in antiquity. This attractive example of a scarce type of Greek pottery has a price tag of £450.

Jewellery at the fair is a feast for the eyes and noteworthy pieces include a sapphire and diamond ring, c1950, priced in the region of £5,000 from Anderson Jones Ltd. Floral-themed jewellery includes an Austrian amethyst, nephrite and diamond brooch in the shape of wild violets, c1930, £2,400 and a Georgian two-colour gold pansy brooch, £3,300, both from Sue Brown. For the gentleman, Howell 1870 is bringing a selection of vintage watches including a man’s steel Jaquet Droz chronograph fitted with Valjoux calibre 7753 movement, c1960, £750. Other jewellers include Plaza and Shapiro & Co.

Specialists in oak and country furniture, Melody Antiques has an excellent selection to suit every taste from a cottage to a castle. Pictures to suit every taste and pocket can be found around the fair from J Dickinson Maps & Prints, Cambridge Fine Art and Ashleigh House Fine Art.

Antiques fair ticket holders (£5 each) gain complimentary access to Harewood’s grounds, gardens and Below Stairs, as well as free parking. For an additional £5 each, (saving £11.50 on an Adult Freedom ticket), fair visitors can upgrade to see the State Rooms and the current exhibition, Victoria – a costume exhibition is open from 24 March until 29 October. Harewood House was recently used as a major set for ITV’s Victoria series. Visit www.harewood.org for more information.

Launched last year at the Harewood fair, The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited has an ongoing association with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association that helps talented craftspeople pursue and hone their talents. QEST scholars will be in attendance across all four days of the fair, showcasing their skills and selling their work.

There is also the opportunity to seek advice and look at examples of work carried out by T L Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration. Tim Phelps has worked on restoration of Chippendale furniture at Harewood House. Advisors from Wilson Mitchell & Co. Ltd, a senior partner practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, will be happy to discuss investments with their clients and other interested visitors.

Light refreshments are available within the fair or more substantial catering is available at the Courtyard at Harewood.

Ingrid Nilson, director of The Antiques Dealers Fairs Limited says, “We look forward to returning to Yorkshire in May and to seeing many of our loyal visitors again.”

Harewood House Appoints Trust Director

Harewood House Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Trust Director, Jane Marriott. Jane joins Harewood from Yorkshire’s award-winning art gallery The Hepworth Wakefield, where she has held the position of Managing Director and formerly Deputy Director since August 2014.

Harewood House Trust Director Jane Marriott

Jane has successfully managed new commercial and fundraising initiatives as well as the reorganisation of The Hepworth Wakefield to help enable the gallery to deliver the long-term goals in its business plan and to achieve excellence in the learning and exhibitions programmes.

Jane has been the driving force behind significant capital redevelopments, launching The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden, a major new public garden designed by Tom Stuart Smith, due to open in 2018. She has significantly increased visitor numbers to the gallery and introduced a major new public events programme and projects supporting The Hepworth Wakefield’s five anniversary in 2016, including the launch of ‘The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture’, a major £30,000 biennial prize for contemporary sculpture .

Before joining the gallery Jane was the Director of Development and Director of the Royal Academy Trust at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London, and a key member of the Executive Committee which provided strategic leadership and direction to the organisation. Following her promotion to Director at the Royal Academy Trust she doubled the annual revenue contribution and raised over £37million for one of the most significant capital campaigns in the Academy’s history.  She also directed the opening of the Keeper’s House and launched the RA’s first ever international strategy in South East Asia.

A History of Art graduate and qualified arts marketer, Jane is a trustee of The Reading Agency, a Fellow of the RSA and a regular speaker at international conferences.

Jane said, ‘It has been a privilege working closely with Simon Wallis and the Board to lead The Hepworth Wakefield through its success over the past few years and contributing to the gallery’s role within Wakefield and its national and international presence. I’m delighted to be taking up the prestigious role of Director of Harewood House Trust and to continue my role in contributing to the growing role of culture and heritage in the region. Harewood House, built in the 18th century, has superb art collections, contemporary art exhibitions, an award-winning educational department, a renowned Bird Garden and over 100 acres of gardens. I look forward to playing a pivotal role in helping to develop and grow this ambitious organisation.”

David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood commented, “I am absolutely delighted that Jane Marriott has agreed to become the new Director of Harewood House Trust.  I’m a huge fan of the Hepworth in Wakefield and the work that Jane has done there over the past couple of years has been a very important part of its success. All of us at Harewood look forward to welcoming her here in the New Year. Exciting times ahead!”