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Hands-on Half Term at Harewood

Harewood House AutumnHarewood House, Autumn

Digging in the Walled Garden, creating a pin-hole camera to capture inspirational scenery, and enjoying behind the scenes activities in the Bird Garden, these are just a few of the sessions on offer as Harewood House Trust launches its first Half Term Holiday Club for 7-12-year olds.

As research continues to highlight the positive benefits on children of learning outdoors, Harewood is launching a week of full-time parent-free holiday activities for up to 15 children each day.

Kathryn Welford, Learning Manager, says; “We’re really excited to be launching our first Holiday Club this half term. Our recent Small Wonders Sessions for under-5s have been going well and as a trial we wanted to extend this amazing learning opportunity and tailor it to older children. There are so many opportunities for engaging learning at Harewood and the Holiday Club will be a relaxed and informal environment for kids to really learn about themselves and learn something new. It should be great fun.”

Whilst the sessions for the  Holiday Club will be based both inside and outside, the outdoor learning experiences will teach those taking part to not only adapt to new environments, but to develop their curiosity and independence, from games and play to making and creating. Where else can you see penguins and learn about their environment and the threats they face? How did the families of hundreds of years ago feed themselves and their communities from the land, in a garden that still grows and feeds today? And surely there are spooky stories to unearth from the big House on the hill?

Half Term Holiday Club runs 28 October – 1 November, from 10am-4pm. No adults allowed!

To find out more see here or email kathryn.w@harewood.org

A night at the movies: Downton Abbey première

Walking down a red carpet will always be thrilling, but even more so last night at the Downton Abbey world première of the film in Leicester Square.

With the Earl and Countess of Harewood, I waited with bated breath to see Harewood on the big screen and it didn’t disappoint. From beautiful sweeping shots of the house outside, to gorgeous drawing room scenes with Princess Mary (6th Countess of Harewood), and the final ball scene with such glamorous costumes … The grandeur of Harewood was captured by moonlight for a final romantic scene, demonstrating just how beautiful Harewood is.

As a charity, filming always provides such a vital income stream, in order to keep the house and collections open. But it is also a juggling act as I am determined to try and keep as much of the house and grounds open to the public whilst filming commences. It does pay off though, as glimpses of Maggie Smith walking back to the Base unit of over a hundred people in our main car park, give visitors an unexpected treat!

You may notice that throughout the film, the characters pronounce ‘Har-wood’ as it would have been known at that time. Today we are all one ‘Hare-wood’ whether it is the village, house or family. The truth is also skewed for fiction as you see the relationship between the 6th Earl and Princess Mary unfold … it makes for a good storyline, but in reality we know there was actually a great deal of affection between these two. In over 170 boxes of Princess Mary’s personal letters, objects and diaries, which Harewood House Trust is now responsible for, the Earl refers to himself as Princess Mary’s little ‘owl’ (she loved these birds) and she was his little ‘canary’. We’ll be giving all of our visitors a very special glimpse into this personal archive in an exhibition in the house this autumn.

It’s a hard job of course (!) as we spent a rather glamorous few hours at the after-party chatting to actors Jim Carter (Carson) Kate Phillips (Princess Mary), to the Director and Producer and of course to writer Julian Fellowes. They all praised Harewood for its beauty and how well we managed the filming. The lavish scale and opulence of the film far outstrips the TV series.

As Julian Fellowes said, it has been ten years since the beginning of Downton and none of them could have predicted where it would lead. America is next as they all get on the plane next week to New York. In the meantime we’ve invited Kate Phillips back to Harewood to delve into her character’s life – Princess Mary, sister to two kings and a fascinating, thoughtful Countess of Harewood.

Photography © 2019 Focus Features LLC

El Greco travels to Paris

ElGrecopainting_HarewoodHouse_CharlotteGrahamHarewood’s Renaissance masterpiece Allegory by Domenikos Theotokopoulos (known as El Greco, the Greek) will be leaving the House for a short while for a trip to Paris where it will be on show as part of a major retrospective of the artist’s work at the Grand Palais.

The exhibition will be on from 14th October 2019 until 10th February 2020 and will be the first major El Greco exhibition in France for many years. Some works will then tour to the Art Institute of Chicago but Allegory will come home to Harewood,  due back in time for opening in March 2020.

The painting, whose full title is full title An Allegory with a Woman lighting a Candle in the Company of an Ape and a Fool (‘Fábula’,) dates from around 1577. It was bought by Henry, Viscount Lascelles, (later 6th Earl of Harewood) in 1917 after he inherited a large amount of money from his great uncle, the 2nd Marquess of Clanricarde. As a young man Henry had developed an interest in Italian pictures, his inheritance allowed him to indulge his passion and amass the collection which is on display at Harewood today.

El Greco was born in Crete in 1541, trained as an artist in Venice and in the 1570s settled in Toledo, Spain, where he died in 1614. He often made several versions of his works; Harewood’s Allegory is one of three known versions and is the only one being lent to this exhibition. It is also the best preserved and the only one which is signed by the artist. El Greco had fallen out of favour somewhat as an artist when Henry purchased the painting, so it is an unusual work to find in a country house. The painting will feature in the exhibition catalogue and a new publication El Greco: Ambition and Defiance which is due to be published in 2020.

As part of the preparation for the exhibition, the painting will be undergoing minor conservation work including a surface clean and re-varnish, so it will return looking a little lighter and brighter than it does now.

Paula Martin, Collections Manager at Harewood said; “This is the first major retrospective of El Greco’s work to be shown in France so we’re delighted to be able to lend this iconic work. It’s the first time the painting has left Harewood in 15 years, and although it will be missed, it means that a whole new audience will be able to see and appreciate it.”

You can keep following our news and stories on our social media channels @HarewoodHouse

A new Channel 4 programme features the Princess Mary archive

The balcony at Buckingham Palace, Silver Jubilee 1936

The balcony at Buckingham Palace, Silver Jubilee 1936

The Princess Mary Archive, housed at Harewood House, features in a new three-part series on Channel 4 from Sunday 11 August.

A new series tells the story of the royal family over three turbulent decades from the 1920s to the end of World War Two, and draws extensively from a series of personal letters, diaries and photograph albums, many of which are held at Harewood House. The series looks at key moments in history from the end of the First World War onwards, including events around George V changing the royal family’s name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor and Princess Mary marrying Henry, Viscount Lascelles and future 6th Earl of Harewood.

This will be the first time that contents of The Princess Mary Archive have been so visibly and comprehensively explored for a documentary, following its long-term loan to Harewood House Trust in 2018. Totalling over 170 boxes, it includes her private correspondence, press cuttings and diaries, which relate to her wedding, family and public life. While this archive has been known and researched for displays at Harewood, Princess Mary’s vast personal correspondence is yet to be fully catalogued. The archive’s loan to the Trust, coupled with investment by the Trust in a new Collections database, will enable a programme for this cataloguing to be put in place over time.

As this cataloguing takes place, the Trust will look to provide access in line with its mission as an educational charity to maintain and develop Harewood, its collections and grounds for the public benefit. The centenary in 2022 of the marriage of HRH The Princess Mary to Henry, Viscount Lascelles will be just one platform for sharing new information as it is uncovered.

The Queen’s Lost Family airs on Channel 4 at 8pm for three weeks from 11 August.
28 September – 3 November 2019 b‘Highlights from a Royal archive’ at Harewood House

Features the recently conserved wedding train and slippers and a flower headdress, in addition to personal letters, diary entries and artefacts.

Amazing Student Art Exhibition

The walls are ablaze with colour and youth as the summer heralds the new exhibition of the Red Kite Alliance A-Level Art exhibition.

Now in its 11th year, and featuring 13 schools across the Leeds, Harrogate, Ilkley and Otley areas, with over a hundred pieces of art on display and free to visit in Harewood’s Courtyard from now until the beginning of September.

Schools include Benton Park School, Brigshaw High School, Crawshaw Academy, Harrogate Grammar School, Ilkley Grammar School, Lawnswood School, Malton School, Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Ralph Thoresby High School, Rossett School, Roundhay School, South Craven School, Temple Moor High School.

Comments Kathryn Welford, Harewood House Learning Manager; “There’s an exceptional level of talent in this room and we’re delighted to see the artwork on public display for visitors to see. Each student should feel a real sense of achievement.”

“The education programme available at Harewood is about creativity across all subject areas. It has been interesting to see how some of the work on show has drawn inspiration from connections to Harewood, such as a botanical study, combining biology with art and design. As an education charity, our work is to support, nurture and provide a learning environment for the next generation of scientists, artists, creators, designers or whatever they might become and it’s something we are committed to provide a platform for. ”

The exhibition is free to visitors to the House and Grounds and will be on display throughout the summer until Sunday 1 September.

To find out more about Harewood’s education programme learn@harewood.org