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Lindsey Porter

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’.

CrabtreeWedding

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.

Keep up to date with the latest news and events and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, @harewoodhouse

Hearing the Journey to Seeds of Hope

‘Seeds of Hope’ sound designers Buffalo give us an insight into their approach to this special project

We were delighted to be asked to collaborate with Lord Whitney again, having previously worked with them on The Wood Beneath The World at Leeds Town Hall. The themes of self-sufficiency, resilience, healing and hope really appealed to us.

We knew that getting the tone of the piece right was crucial. We wanted to convey the solemn context and to encourage reflection, but we were also keenly aware to avoid sentimentality. The project needed to communicate gratitude and optimism at its core.

We were given access to the Lord Whitney research, which meant that we could immerse ourselves in the stories of the time, some specific to Harewood and the surrounding area, some not. We discussed the intended narrative and had a chance to look through some of writer David Allison’s work to get a sense of where the characters would fit in and how much of the sound needed to link to them and convey their stories.

It quickly became clear to us that the project required natural, acoustic sounds as it was focused so firmly on the regenerative powers of the natural world – the gardens as a provider and place of healing. We decided early on that the two rooms of The Bothy should be treated differently to the outside spaces. Inside, we looked at manipulating ‘found’ sounds. We determined that the music didn’t need to ‘tell a story’, as John the Bothy Boy’s journal would do this. Instead, we created an abstract, ambient soundscape that would give visitors a sense of time being fluid, that your senses had been disrupted and you are hearing echoes of the past in the present.

We wanted to convey a sense of the slow, almost imperceptible growth of plants over time and have this interlink with repetitive sounds of human activity across the years. You’ll hear the drag of garden tools on stone, the knock of crock pots, what could be the gentle unfurling of leaves and the creak of expanding wood. In the Head Gardener’s office you hear the echo of footsteps and are introduced to the beautiful ‘The World Is Waiting for The Sunrise’ (music by Ernest Seitz, lyrics by Gene Lockhart) in the form of a distant tuneful whistle.

In the Walled Garden you come to the poignant Seeds of Hope sunflower installation in the Glasshouses, representing the 1,269 soldiers who were cared for at Harewood House when it was an auxiliary hospital. We introduced melody and instrumental sounds, attempting to convey the dignity, healing and hope that we felt the sunflowers represent. We used the cello to introduce parts of the melody from ‘The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise’ and, drawing on our research again, this time from a piece in the Harewood Parish magazine, which notes how the soldiers would enjoy watching the sunflowers turn, we recorded cello tuning keys, which creak as they tighten the strings, to represent this poignant image. You also hear a series of overlapping, high-pitched tones that feature in all the pieces but are most prominent here.

The First World War was the first truly industrial war and little thought had been given to the effect of new technologies on the human ear drum. As a result, many soldiers suffered at least some degree of immediate hearing loss. This led to sergeants using high pitched whistles as a method of communicating with their charges as this was the only sound that they could all hear. The whistling tones that you’ll hear are intended to call back to the soldiers’ time on the front line and to recognise that, beyond the injuries obvious to the eye, they suffered a multitude of less obvious physical and mental injuries that would often stay with them long after their recuperation.

After tracing the paths through the Peace Meadow you come to the Orchard, where our final piece ties together the three pieces. Again you hear the cello, this time backed by repeated, metronomic piano chords, as it moves from abstraction to the slow, poignant and now complete melody of ‘The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise’, albeit with an altered time signature, intended to convey a sense of solemn reflection and finally cautious, peaceful optimism.

Listen to the tracks

Find out more about Buffalo

An electric new ride

Two new electric shuttles are now transporting hundreds of visitors around Harewood, in another step forward towards the charity’s environmental goals.

The new buses have been specially commissioned and built bespoke, to adapt to the needs of Harewood, including the ability to navigate the steep inclines down to the Lake and to accommodate wheelchairs, for which they have a special ramp. Doors and windows provide shelter from the inclement Yorkshire weather (the previous shuttles were more like golf buggies) and users have been delighted by the quiet where they can hear more from their driver as part of a much more luxurious trip than ever before.

The modern, silent buses can seat seven people, and six people when a wheelchair is on board. Charged each evening, they can then run effectively, and more efficiently than the previous shuttles, for the duration of the day, picking visitors up from 11am and continuing right thorough until the last shuttles at 5pm.

You might not know, but the majority of the shuttles are run by a team of Harewood volunteers, including Martin and Tim, who provide a wealth of information and good Yorkshire character to visitors needing a lift from the Courtyard to the House and even up to the entry archway.

The short film features Martin, our longest standard volunteer of 20 years! Spot the the kids in shorts on their scooters despite the rain.