Tagged

Harewood House

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!”

Axminster at Harewood: Ethical Debate

Harewood House has an axminster carpet

Debate entitled: “What are the challenges of applying conservation ethics while balancing historical authenticity with aesthetic appearance?”

Chaired by: Professor Ann Sumner (Historic Collections Advisor at Harewood House)

Panel:

  • Caroline Carr-Whitworth (CC), (Collections Curator, Art for English Heritage)
  • Dr Crosby Stevens (CS), (Textile Conservator)
  • Dr Chrissie Freeth (CF), (Tapestry Weaver)
  • Frances Hartog (FH), (Senior Textile Conservator at the V&A)

Panel asked by Ann Sumner (AS) for initial thoughts and comments regarding the debate question*:

 *All following quotes are not verbatim but a summary of the most interesting and relevant points

Caroline Carr-Whitworth (CCW): (Talking about Brodsworth Hall’s conservation display) Current building works have allowed us to concentrate on conservation issues and particularly problems that have been caused by the works, as well as the building’s lack of maintenance over time that has led to water and light damage to the carpets etc.

  • Brodsworth have implemented a whole series of interpretation throughout the House, making use of boards that are currently up to protect objects against the building work. Differences between the interpretations at Brodsworth to Harewood: they are showing a carpet fragment from the store which had a pier table stood over it for many years so that the bit of the carpet underneath has retained a lot of its earlier (not necessarily original) colour.
  • Because Brodsworth has very faded 19th century interiors and it is perhaps difficult for people to understand the vibrancy of those interiors when first furnished, this fragment on display helps people to understand the colours as they would once have looked. The other picture shows another fragment of a carpet border that was trapped underneath a sculpture plinth which has also been put on display.
  • All the carpets at Brodsworth have been frozen washed, they also have carpets that have been chopped up and have had sticky tape stuck to the back of them etc. and these fragments on display for the first time communicate to visitors the type of conservation issues Brodsworth are dealing with. A very close parallel can be drawn between this and Harewood, where the carpet has been turned upside down to admit to the problems it has. It is good to highlight issues and involve the public in them.

AS: And it is also about engagement with audiences and what brings them in to a relationship with the carpet. The panel talked earlier at lunch about how people will look much differently at a painting or a piece of furniture to a carpet and I think it really helps with engagement to be able to talk about some conservation issues, things that might not have occurred to the public.

Dr Crosby Stevens (CS):

  • I went to the ICON conference recently and one thing that came up was the notion of encouraging visitors and going on a journey with them towards a greater historic literacy so that we can have more nuanced thinking about authenticity or originality. These discussions can then be opened up to the public and people will have more subtle views of what they are looking at and that can help us with decision making.

Frances Hartog (FH):

  • My overwhelming thought is that it is fantastic to find carpets that were woven for the original design of the room and are still there. What is extraordinary about these carpets is that they have survived. But they are organic, so they will deteriorate and whatever you do, whether you decide to restore or conserve, that aging process and the deterioration process will carry on.
  • You can slow it down by hopefully a couple of hundred years or so with good care but it just would seem an enormous shame to roll them up and put them into storage because to educate the public, they really enjoy seeing something that is original and these are real rarities. There are very few Axminsters still in existence in the original interiors they were woven for, so I feel that is their unique importance.

Dr Chrissie Freeth (CF):

  • Initially I thought of course its repairs have to stay, they are its honourable scars and part of its story, but then the more I found out about the carpet and the damage those repairs are doing to it I realised that, as they are threatening its longevity, there is a really strong case for it to come out. I would come and visit these carpets as an artist and craftsperson, to come and see the handiwork of my craft ancestors, to see what they have done, as it is their way of communicating with us and what they have left behind for us, a dialogue. If you were to have a replica that is a very different conversation that one would be having with very different people and for me that would be of much less value.
  • With regards to a project with the Stirling tapestries, whilst one tapestry was being woven behind the scenes in the studio another was being woven full-time in front of the public, full-time for people to watch and it had a huge public engagement impact and I think that is something that should be thought about here.
  • We have talked about authenticity and the weavers of the Stirling tapestries would argue that the authenticity lay in the experience of the makers because they were basically using the same techniques that were used to make the original tapestries, but with these carpets that would be quite different because presumably their making has moved on quite considerably from hand-weaving to machinery. Whilst there may be an argument for spending resources on making reproductions , would this not also be a great opportunity to invite some artists to come and reinterpret the room and carpets and come up with some more contemporary designs to be made rather than reweaving what is already there.

AS: We are certainly thinking about and have planned some contemporary responses. We’ve mentioned a couple of times now the question of historic repairs, can I ask you Crosby to say a little about this whole question of whether we actually remove historic repairs to reduce further physical and structural damage to the carpet, and what your experience was of actually finding out more about these historical repairs as we moved the carpet. The carpet was moved for the first time in twenty years and it really was a major undertaking for all of us in the department. It did very much reveal some fascinating background information to the history of the carpet and the repairs in particular.

 CS:

  • The main thing to say about the repairs is that if you take time to look at the carpet in detail you begin to realise that there are an awful lot of them. Some blend in quite well and some stand out, particularly that bright yellow yarn which in patches is very obvious. The less obvious ones just cover a very large amount of the carpet and it isn’t clear without further analysis how many of them are covering over original knots and how many of them are covering over holes. Any conservation treatment has to be very sensitive to what it is you are conserving. Are the repairs important? There is also the question of stability and characterisation of the carpet, which is a multi-layered object.
  • It is not at all unusual when you begin to look at textiles that you end up having different textures and different yarns from different periods.

AS: Caroline do you have any further thoughts about repairs and how you have treated them in your experience?

CCW:

  • At Brodsworth we have tended to take a very gentle approach in order to keep the whole history of the object. Whilst there have been a couple of cases, particularly with wall silks, in which if the later repairs are causing damage we have removed them, generally we have taken the approach of saying we are conserving the whole history of the object and interiors.
  • I wondered whether maybe the public can take a bit of inconsistencies, as long as the House is honest in explaining what it is they are looking at. It needs to be explained more, perhaps it is already by guides.

AS: We have introduced a carpet talk this year a few times a week with the hope that we particularly emphasise the context of these carpets. We have been really encouraged by the number of people taking the time to write comments in the visitor’s book and questionnaire. We are very pleased with the public engagement so far and feel we would like to emphasise the carpets a lot more. We also had an interesting day at Chatsworth learning about how they approach and interpret their carpets. It is early days but we are moving forward. Frances do you have any comments about this whole question of repairs and the different approaches in the museum setting to a country house?

  • FH: It isn’t entirely different because there are still the physical aspects of the carpet you are conserving but also why you are conserving it, and presumably it is for its aesthetic value. But there has to be a balance. I have never worked on a carpet where there has been a strict rule regarding how the conservation will go, as you need a very thorough survey and to decide what is damaging and what isn’t and if it isn’t, why are you removing it, is it aesthetically unacceptable. You can’t make fast rules and say you are going to remove all the repairs if they don’t all need removing. You have to think twice about whether you are going to solubilise them or can you just do it mechanically.
  • It is very difficult at the beginning of a project to stand back from the carpet and say exactly how you are going to treat it. The biggest problem with this particular carpet is its size, which makes it very logistically challenging. It is enormous and fragile.

CS:

  • I have only done an overview and started to look at individual areas in order to look towards a conservation map, but it is a big step in the work and decision making. There are a limited number of options to what we can maybe do. The key to its conservation depends on use. Is it going to be walked on a little or a lot or not at all, because there will be future damages to take into account. There will also be huge budgeting and financial considerations.

AS: This is perhaps why replica carpets have been suggested, not in the YDR where we wouldn’t anticipate walking on the carpet but maybe in the Music Room. There are aesthetic reasons why a replica might sound an interesting idea and how one would produce it would also be interesting. Crosby would you like to say anything about how a replica could be used? There is the question of would you want to go so far as to roll a carpet regularly and have it in store.

  • CS: The practicalities of rolling a very large delicate carpet are huge. You could conserve the carpet to whatever level and then roll and store it, or you could conserve it minimally, but either way it is very fragile and the process of actually rolling it is very tricky and difficult. It would need to be thought through very carefully how often you would intend to roll and unroll, where you would put it to be stored and the effects to the carpets. A good example is Axminster at Brodsworth which has a replica in the main entrance hall.

CCW:

  • But the original in store has so many holes in it and hasn’t been conserved because of its size. It has been rolled up for many years without being checked, which raises issues of why are we even keeping it in the store? But it is the original to the House.

CS:

  • You almost reduce their meaning by taking them out of the room because they are part of that decoration.

AS: We don’t have the right storage facilities and are currently looking for an option in which the carpet would return to the room and we would roll it as informed. There has to be a balance. We didn’t move it for twenty years but then how can you find out about its condition and record it if it isn’t moved? For a long-term solution we are looking at wanting to maintain the originals in those rooms. What would you say about the mapping process? It’s incredibly important to record all aspects of conservation.

CS:

  • You need to get to know the object extremely well and understand every part of it. Whether that is by drawing or computer programs etc.

AS: This is also fertile ground for contemporary practitioners to respond as part of that mapping process. Do you have any specific examples of works in which you have responded to in situ works and have engaged with visitors?

CF:

  • At East Riddleston there was a tapestry loom at the end of the corridor to which the public were very welcome to come very close and engage with what was going on. The item that was woven and subsequently hung in the area where it was woven was very much a response to the property, the research and the history of the House and the people who lived there as well as the very large textile collection on display. Historic houses are such a rich vein for artists and craftspeople to draw from.

INTERACTION WITH THE PUBLIC

AS: I am now going to throw over to the public to ask any questions they might have as a result of what we have spoken about.

Public: Have you done any dye-analysis on the carpets?

AS: No but that is certainly an area we are going to look into feeding back from this debate. It is clearly an important part of our mapping to include some dye analysis because we want to give as much help to the workshops as we can, as there are only a limited number that can consider conserving a carpet this size.

FH: But the dye analysis will be a nightmare with the repair. It’s very interesting historically to know what dyes were used but are you going to clean the carpets and how? Do you need analysis to introduce a wet treatment or do you just need to test them to find out whether they’re fugitive? You would tend to use synthetic dyes with repairs because natural dyes tend to fade quite strongly at the beginning and then as they age the fading becomes slower, whereas modern synthetic dyes tend to fade more slowly across in a straighter line, so the idea is that if you match the colours with the synthetic dyes now the fading should be more consistent. And they are light stable and wet stable so don’t cause a reaction.

AS: We’ve talked a lot about authenticity as well and what that really means. I do think we need to have a dialogue with the public to really engage them so that they understand what the principles are you’re actually using to ‘restore’ a room in a country house because there are many different criteria’s. To maintain those criteria’s along the whole of the house can be very difficult.

CCW: That’s exactly the question. If you think the public want to see how it was originally you have to remove that aged carpet and do what you think is a replica. At Brodsworth we have wondered whether we can digitally work out what the colours would have been but even that is incredibly difficult to do. You could maybe value and display your faded original with an interpretation through clever computer design or eyemats over the top etc. other ways of doing it other than replica.

CCW: I have to say that with our Study Day and this debate the main aim is to raise the profile of carpets and get visitors to appreciate them in their room setting, so that people aren’t surprised that they are rolled back and there is a barrier across because they understand that you are going to destroy them by walking on them.

CF: I think the general public understand even with their own carpets that they are precious and are easily damaged and need proper care whatever their age

AS: The hope is that with museum care and our conservation strategy here we wouldn’t want to walk on the carpets but external cases such as filming might happen, and these need to be looked at in your plan for the future.

CS: House-keeping staff may need to get over the carpets to other objects, or there might be functions in the room too.

AS: There are so many different levels but we want to have a management plan for the future that understands these as being major works of art in their own right. Our attitude has been to not touch them because we were told twenty years ago they were incredibly vulnerable and not to do anything with them, but that’s not actually a solution to the issue. You have to address the issue.

Public: Is cost a factor in this and how does the production of a replica compare to the cost of conservation work?

AS: Costs are absolutely key; we are an educational trust with museum accreditation and designated collections. We are very much looking to have a conservation project and when the replica was included in part of an original discussion about the carpets it was really a very expensive option, not a cheap option, assuming it would be woven to relatively authentic standards. If  you are going to get a replica one issue is that you have to think carefully about the original authentic object and where that is going to be stored, because once it is rolled it is probably going to be there for a very long time. Possibly having a replica is not really a financial decision but trying to understand what the right thing to do is as part of a consultation process. Asking peers within the profession is very important for us as well.

AS: Could I now have some concluding thoughts from the panel?

FH: My concluding thought was if you did roll them up and put them into storage, in reality would they ever be seen again and I think the horrible truth is probably not and then you think well, why have we got them?

CF: It’s a really good opportunity for some really exciting things and I do have to say I feel that what you’ve done as far as putting today together and also the questionnaire has been a really exemplary approach to tackling this question.

CS: For me I just want to say how much I have enjoyed looking at little areas of the carpet in detail and I think that is something you could light people up with: the detail, the precision of how they are made, exactly how the individual motifs are shaped, getting them to look closely at the carpet.

CCW: I think carpets are absolutely fascinating and not just the 18th century ones. I would want to hope you are looking at the carpets throughout Harewood including the 19th century ones and what evidence there might be in inventories etc. for bedrooms and servants quarters and whether through that you get a better picture of what was going on through the whole house and what you are doing in those rooms. I wonder whether the question of these two carpets needs to be put in that wider context of both the research of the whole house but also the conservation management and the presentation of it. To me you are zoning in on one thing when there are overarching questions.

AS: That is an interesting concluding moment, that what we hope to be doing going forward is a more holistic approach to our curation within the house, particularly around the carpets. It is undoubtedly true that we have been excited by the developments in Axminster and by the Yorkshire Year of the Textile and this has driven us forward to look at these two carpets particularly because we knew they were in need of attention but we have been looking at them in isolation.

Going forward we hope to produce a small booklet which will help our visitors look at other carpets in the house as well. How we engage our visitors by looking at the wording of our questions in the questionnaire, how to help people fully understand the conservation process and how we are going to be looking at workshops in the future and other engagement areas is really important.

Having a dialogue with craftspeople today and understanding just how inspiring our carpets can be is also so important. We have found just how fascinated the public are by the whole repair process. There is a huge amount of research for us to do going forward and we would really like to thank you all very much for attending and taking part in this debate.

Way Forward:

Harewood conducted a survey about the way forward for the Yellow Drawing Room carpet. Results showed that 53% felt conversation was the best route to take, 20% replica, 13% restore, 14% leave as it is. In total of 1577 responded between April to end of October 2016.

Natures Carpet:

natures-carpet-at-harewood

At the beginning of September we invited the artist Sue Lawty to lead on a family friendly workshop in response to the multi-coloured patterns of the original carpets as part of the Yorkshire Year of the Textile programme.

Our gardening team went foraging for leaves and flowers which had been separated by type and colour into different bags showing an extraordinary variety of colours.  All through the day families with young children and adults came and worked with Sue on the boards that had been put outside the Visitor Information centre. We had photographs of the carpets pinned up which provided inspiration and a starting point for everyone. There were no instructions that it had to be done this way as Sue encouraged everyone to make their own response be working on one little bit, and together, over the day, we made a beautiful carpet of flowers and leaves to create “Nature’s Carpet”.