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Christmas in September – Jane Marriott presents Harewood’s vision for Christmas

Is it really time to think about Christmas already? In my second year as Director here at Harewood, I’m just getting used to the fact that we have had to plan for Christmas 2018, since spring this year!

Harewood is a beautifully restored, historic house that we want to ensure stays alive and relevant. It is an educational charitable trust, but it is also a wonderful collection of social and cultural stories, shaped by the Lascelles family. Christmas is such an important and magical time of the year, to be shared with our families, and at Harewood we feel exactly the same. We want to extend that family welcome to all of our visitors.

Christmas at Harewood 1920sHarewood’s Christmas will be both a nostalgic and moving experience, encouraging visitors to delve a little deeper into our social history. Our theme and artistic director this year will ensure that Christmas at Harewood is imaginative, bold, beautiful and simply impossible to replicate anywhere else….

The decadent era of the 1920s and its more celebratory note is a natural continuation from Seeds of Hope, our exhibition in the Walled Garden and Bothy, which commemorates the end of the first World War, honouring the incredibly important work the gardeners did in supporting the war effort. This participatory and immersive work of imagination, rooted in historical fact and created by Lord Whitney, marks a poignant moment in history and led us to decide Christmas should end the year on a high.

Without giving away too many secrets, visitors will step back in time to imagine Christmas through the eyes of two little boys at the end of the decade; George and Gerald Lascelles. George was the current Earl’s father and both boys were the sons of the sixth Earl and Princess Mary. ‘Imagine it is Christmas Eve 1929, and George and Gerald are wildly excited about the day ahead. As they sleep their unconscious seeps into the rooms of the house, creating a magical dreamscape. Their miniature Pony & Trap is pulled by a Rocking Horse, a satyr from the Chippendale Pier Tables morphs into Santa and their Mother’s elegant wedding dress turns into a beautiful Christmas tree……’

It is important not to be too led by a historical recreation, but rather to be playful and nostalgic. We therefore approached Simon Costin to be our Artistic Director. He is an internationally respected art director who has collaborated with the likes of the late Alexander McQueen and Givenchy to create jaw-dropping catwalk designs. His work has also been included in many exhibitions and collections from the ICA in London to The Metropolitan Museum in New York. Simon is also great fun to work with and I am sure the staff and volunteers will enjoy every moment dressing the house from top to bottom!

I, for one, cannot wait to open our doors, this Christmas, and welcome everyone into the dream world of the 1920s at Harewood.

George on the Frontline

George character Seeds of Hope

As Seeds of Hope continues in the Walled Garden, The Bothy and Below Stairs, six characters bring to life stories from the Harewood estate 100 years ago.

George is John’s older brother, away fighting on the frontline. His letters to John from the brutal trenches are our window in to the realities of war.

We learn that George is a young man in love with nature and gardening, who misses the House and gardens at Harewood so much. His letters home to John include everyday comments on the weather, gossip, cricket and how the year’s harvest is doing – a man trying to stay upbeat, whilst giving an increasingly honest and emotional insight into what he’s facing on the frontline.

The story of George’s fight to serve his country is at the heart of Seeds of Hope.

Seeds of Hope continues until 4 November.

John the Bothy Boy

John the Bothy Boy Seeds of HopeAs Seeds of Hope continues in the Walled Garden, The Bothy and Below Stairs, six characters bring to life stories from the Harewood estate 100 years ago.

John, the Bothy Boy, is our central character and guide to the past. Too young to serve in the war, his older brother George is on the frontline, sending occasional letters, trying to be upbeat.

Life is hard for John working on the land, but he is full of passion and pride in helping feed the troops and the Home Front.

Through John’s journal, we discover what life was like during wartime at Harewood. We learn how the Estate changed radically to focus on food production, growing vegetables and rearing animals in the garden, the mischief John gets up to in his rare free moments and his role as fast bowler on the cricket team.

Until 4 November, visit Seeds of Hope.

Helen & Joe Got Married

MrandMrsCrabtreemarryatHarewwodFrom the end of this year, couples can again get married at Harewood, the first time in several years. Mr and Mrs Crabtree got married in 2014 and gave us an insight into their big day.

How did you meet?
We met at York Races through a mutual friend.

Why did you choose Harewood for your wedding?
We’d looked around a few venues but as soon as we were shown around Harewood we knew it was the venue for us. Beautiful house, stunning views and penguins to boot!

What was your wedding like?
From start to finish, the day was perfect. It was the hottest day of the year so we spent most of the day and night outside, either on the terrace or in the courtyard. It was a very relaxed day – exactly what we wanted – with a BBQ served to our guests in the sun and all our friends and family enjoying the live band in the evening.

Where did you do your first dance and what was the music?
Our first dance was in the Courtyard to Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy Love’ sung by our fab wedding band ‘The Players’.


What are your lasting highlights / memories of your wedding?
Joe – Helen walking down the aisle as our friend sang ‘Can’t help falling in love with you’
Helen – standing on the terrace after the ceremony with all our friends and family and just looking around feeling incredibly happy.

If you could do it all over again, would you…?
Absolutely – we wouldn’t change a thing.

The Harewood Wedding Showcase takes place on Sunday 30 September and present wedding opportunities and some exceptional partners and suppliers to couples looking to tie the know. To find out more visit online and follow us on social media @harewoodhouse


5 Minutes with artist and illustrator Kate McGuire

Kate McGuire Fern photographsArtist and illustrator Kate McGuire’s Seed to Table exhibition, currently on display in the Terrace Gallery, is an insight into the plants in the Walled Garden.

Q – You spent a year’s residency in the Walled Garden, can you tell us more about this time?

In 2013 I was looking for a traditional walled garden to spend a year developing my knowledge and experience of plants in my practice – primarily plant studies or plant portraits, as I like to call them. The invitation for the residency at Harewood House gave me unlimited access to the gardens and the glass houses which are normally off limits to the public. I had the ear and the eye of Head Gardener, Trevor Nicholson, whose knowledge is second to none. I was generally at Harewood one or two days a week, and often on those days I would snatch Trevor from his busy schedule, to walk with him in the grounds, talking about the plants, the history of the garden and the buildings, and usually securing a new subject for my studies.

Q – Kate, you describe your exhibition as a 3D sketchbook, can you explain more about this?

I do have a sketchbook fetish, borne out of my art college training at Harrogate and Central school of art. Both art colleges were big on the importance of documenting process and development and that has stayed with me. Previously I had kept my studies to beautiful bound sketchbooks I’d bought in Berlin. Perhaps it was the scale of the garden which allowed me to open up to the larger studies you can see in the exhibition. There was no plan as such for how I would work during the residency and no pressure to create ‘final images’, so my objective was simply to observe and document line, shape, colour and capture some of the ‘personality’ of the plants. I would start with one A2 sheet and the plant of my choice, and add pages as the drawing commanded. What you see in the Terrace Gallery is the primary sketchbook work (which I would normally keep tucked away in plan chests) from which I created some limited-edition prints, and the range of cards, mini prints and notebook specifically for Harewood.

Fig in Fruit House (002)

Q – What do you love about what you do?

I am constantly in awe of what nature provides – I spent a lot of time on my bike in Berlin, looking at what wild plants were thriving in the city streets, and along the banks of the waterways in industrial and neglected parts of the city. The beauty and tenacity of wild uncultivated plants, which many people would consider to be weeds, is for me a source of inspiration and joy. For example, the simple dandelion – what a plant! It’s so successful as a species, so exquisite in its method of reproduction, every leaf on every plant in existence this minute, is unique…. I could go on. Looking at nature like this creates a reverence in me which sometimes demands that I really take time to look at something, find out about its history in folklore, it’s common and botanical names, its medicinal and nutritional properties. At Harewood, I had the opportunity to look at more cultivated plants, and access the beautiful fruit houses and greenhouses which are tucked away behind the garden walls. I got to find out about how little fireplaces along the exterior walls were used to heat the glass houses, and see original plans of the garden site. What I do feeds my mind and my senses and literally, leads me down the most unexpected garden paths!

Q – Do you have a particular favourite part of the exhibition?

It would have to be the fly posted piece – It’s a rare treat to have the space to lay out so many pieces of work in one room, and an extraordinary experience to be given the opportunity to fly post directly onto the walls of an 18th century stately home! Having spent many years in the fly posting trade I like to bring that into my work where possible. There’s a quality about it which I find beautiful and I love the shift of scale it allows. I did some new studies with this in mind for the exhibition, which show the development of a broad bean from ‘seed to table’. I’m fascinated by what is going on underground as well as above and get an insight into the ‘private life’ of the produce which we see in our supermarkets all picked and packaged. Installing it was fun too – I made a little time lapse film which you can see on my website shortly.

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