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Marching on together…

Lord Harewood Leeds United President

David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood, wears his Leeds colours with pride, as he is announced Honorary President of Leeds United, in this the club’s centenary year.

“It really is an honour to be asked to be President of Leeds United. My father held the post for nearly fifty years and my step-mother too for a few months before she died.

My father started taking me to Elland Road as a boy and I’ve been a season ticket holder since we won the last First Division Championship in 1992.

Now I go with my own sons and in the last couple of years with my young grandsons too. It’s the club’s centenary year and it feels like we are at the start of something very exciting, with the best manager in the league and a group of committed and passionate players. I’m proud to be a small part of it. Marching On Together!”

The craft of the matter…

Curator Hugo MacDonaldQ&A with Hugo Macdonald, curator of the inaugural craft exhibition, Useful / Beautiful: Why Craft Matters

Design critic Hugo writes for several international titles Wallpaper*, Monocle and House & Garden. He consults across a broad range of industries, helping define narrative identity and strategy for clients, including Airbnb, The Goldsmiths’ Company, Vitra, Instagram and Ikea.

Can you give a brief summary of what’s happening at Harewood this spring?
It’s a very exciting time indeed. We are opening the inaugural exhibition of the new Harewood Biennial. The exhibition is called Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters, and our mission has been to introduce ideas, challenge preconceptions and inspire debate about the role craft can play in life today. We are surrounded by the word craft today – whether on food packaging in supermarkets or luxury brands, galleries to gift shops to hobbies at home. I’m keen to ask questions about what craft is, and why it matters to us today: is it a product or a process? Is it always something handmade? Is it just a marketing buzzword?

What will visitors see and experience?
We have selected 26 diverse, contemporary practitioners of craft. The group has a variety of experiences, from recent graduates to names of global renown. They have different areas of expertise spanning fashion, textiles, woodwork, glass, metalwork, furniture, paper and leather. Each has been invited to exhibit in a different room on the State Floor and Below Stairs. The works respond in some way to the room, sometimes explicit, sometimes more subtle. So we have a bookbinder in the Main Library, a knife forger in the Old Kitchen, a ceramics studio in the China Room. Each of the exhibitors is a story in its own right, each promoting the idea in their own way that craft adds value to life.

Why craft, why now, why Harewood?
We are undoubtedly witnessing a resurgence of interest in craft. Harewood House itself is a fascinating platform to explore discussions around the subject. The house was built, decorated and furnished in the final days before the first industrial revolution, which would eventually spawn the Arts & Crafts movement. Our exhibition creates an intriguing contrast between historic and contemporary. The exhibits might look very different, but many techniques have not changed significantly. I hope visitors will see beyond aesthetic differences between “old and new” to question why these crafted exhibits are interesting to us today. What do they add to life?

Originally William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement made a principled rejection of the Industrial Age, back in the late 19th century. With the explosive emergence of industry, there was a belief that it would destroy culture and society.

Today we are approaching the fourth industrial revolution, witnessing the rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and automation. I believe this is the reason for our current craft revival: in a world more reliant than ever on digital and virtual elements, people want to reconnect with the physical realm. We are witnessing times of enormous change beyond our control, characterised by forces we don’t understand. Craft is something fundamental. It is an innately human expression. We find it comforting and reassuring.

Who are the exhibitors and what will they bring?
Every exhibitor is fascinating in their own right and I’ve so enjoyed getting to know them and their work, and finding out why what they do matters to them. There is a broad mix: Wakefield-based paper artist and illustrator Andy Singleton is showing beautiful poetic sculptures; Welsh sustainable denim-makers Hiut Denim are demonstrating how craft can economically and socially boost a community; Fox Umbrellas prove that making one thing better than anyone else translates into a global multi-generational business run from a small workshop on the outskirts of Croydon. Visitors will discover Freed of London ballet shoes in The Music Room, with portraits of their work, together with the component parts and a heap of finished slippers. Every single one of the 330,000 slippers made each year is handmade to fit a single foot.

The aim is to show beautiful, contemporary handcrafted objects, against a classic backdrop and to take the time to not only admire, but to probe, question and consider. Craft has a vital place in contemporary life – we want visitors to leave inspired by the many wonderful stories and delighted by the many objects we often take for granted that are the result of another human’s extraordinary knowledge, time, care and skill.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.
William Morris

Art Fund Support

Parroting on about it…

Loro Parque ParrotIn a recent visit to Loro Parque, Tenerife, Harewood Bird Garden specialist Lisa Bath recounts behind the scenes of her trip.

Last year was a big birthday for me and so I made it an aim to visit all the places and events I had been meaning to go to but never got around to. Top of the list was the International Parrot Convention, which is held every four years at Loro Parque in Tenerife. Fortuitously for me 2018 was the year of the 9th convention so I took this as destiny and booked my tickets. It also coincided with my 10th anniversary of working at Harewood Bird Garden. I began working here in 2009 with parrots and penguins after completing a BSc in Animal Management. My dissertation focused on Amazon Parrots, hence my motivation to travel.

The convention attracts delegates from 47 countries who all converge on the island to discuss everything parrot related, with three days of talks by some of the foremost parrot experts in the world. Participants from zoos, private collections, biologists, veterinarians and conservationists working in the field are given the chance to connect and share information.

For anyone interested in parrots, a visit to Loro Parque is a must. The Collection houses around 4,000 individual birds from 350 different parrot species and is one of the biggest collections in the world. The Loro Parque Foundation also supports projects to conserve parrots in their natural environment and is regarded as the authority on all things parrot and not only that one of the best zoos in the world.

For me it was a chance to gain knowledge and make connections with others who work with parrots. Not only was this in the form of the lectures and workshops but also just walking round the zoo looking at the exhibits. I attended a workshop on hand-rearing parrots run by the curator of birds at Loro Parque, which helped hone the skills I had developed over the summer when hand rearing two Brown Lories at Harewood. I also looked at the enclosures and gained some good ideas about aviary layout. As I result, I will be trying some swinging perches and different ways of feeding the parrots in my care that will add more entertainment for them.

The highlights of the trip for me were seeing lots of different species of parrot that I had always wanted to see. My favourite was the Pesquets Parrot, pictured. Also meeting new people was an amazing experience, especially as there were people there with so much knowledge to share – I learnt as much valuable information over the dinner table as I did in the lecture theatre.

Loro Parque in Tenerife
Being a bird keeper and working with parrots is a dream for me. At Harewood we have ten species of parrot, some of which are pets which have been donated to us, and others are rare and unusual such as the Palm cockatoos and the Greater Vasa Parrot, the latter species has an unusual breeding behaviour whereby the female goes completely bald on the head. Every day is different and you are interacting with birds every day. I think it is a privilege to be able to work so closely with them and there is no greater job satisfaction than seeing happy healthy birds in the environment that you are providing. This is why I feel it is very important to continually learn and communicate with other aviculturists to ensure that the birds that you care for can receive the best life possible. The Loro Parque International Parrot Convention was an ideal opportunity for me to do this and I am already looking forward to attending again.

Christmas TV Programme Filmed at Harewood

MaryBerryShowtimeChristmas just got an extra sparkle as we reveal ‘Mary Berry’s Country House at Christmas’ was filmed here. The one-hour programme, which will air on BBC Two in December, is one of the highlights of the BBC’s Christmas season.

It features stories from across Harewood, including tales from the House and gardens and the focus of this year’s 1929 Christmas Eve story. The traditions from past and present are woven together with scenes of Mary cooking in the copper-pan adorned Below Stairs kitchen, with recipes including traditional Twelfth Cake and Yorkshire Pie.

The crew filmed for two weeks at the beginning of November when Harewood was closed to the public. Stories expected to be featured across the episode range from the Walled Garden to the Private Apartments and incorporate some of the talented and generous Harewood volunteers spending time with Mary whilst they make wreaths for the House and decorate gingerbread that will play a role in the setting for visitors.

David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood and Chair of the Board of Trustees, also took Mary on a wider tour of the Harewood Estate, bringing the family’s history to life.

Jane Marriott, Harewood House Trust Director, said;
“We had two wonderful weeks with Mary Berry and the crew, whilst they explored the many stories at Harewood. Christmas in the 1920s, is one of these unique stories, which we have brought to life, in an enchanting and magical way, created especially for us by Simon Costin. Continuing our ambition to work with the best Artistic Directors in this country, we are delighted to now have the opportunity to broadcast this nationwide and to share the traditions of Christmas at Harewood, through the eyes of two little boys in the 1920s, celebrated in Mary Berry’s programme.”

Follow Harewood on social media to keep up to date with the latest stories and transmission date for the programme.


Recipients of the Heritage Education Trust’s Sandford Award

Harewood is a place families can learn about history and life below stairs

Children can discover a history Below Stairs at Harewood

Harewood House is delighted once again to become the recipient of the prestigious Heritage Education Trust’s Sandford Award, in recognition of the achievement of the Trust’s Learning programme.

An independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, The Sandford Award assesses museums, archives and collections across the British Isles, with accreditation lasting for five years. This is the seventh time since 1979 that Harewood has been awarded the accolade.

An educational charitable Trust, Harewood offers a rich and diverse range of learning opportunities with indoor and outdoor sessions for all ages, from early years to school trips and Higher Education seminars. All three of the Trust’s Collections are integrated into the sessions, inclusive of the historic house, the natural landscape and the bird garden.

David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood, says; “This is very good news indeed. My congratulations and warm regards go to everyone who has contributed. Education is such an important part of what we do and to have sustained the standards necessary to receive the Sandford Award over such a long period, is a great tribute to the work done here.”

Harewood is one of over 500 institutions taking part in the annual awards, which focus mainly on formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools, and provides a kite-mark for high quality education provision.

Jane Marriott, Harewood House Trust Director, says “I am delighted that Harewood has once again been recognised for this award, the seventh time in the history of its education programme, which dates to the 1970s.

“The education of our future generations is of paramount importance to us and the opportunity to explore art, culture, history, heritage and landscape that we have at Harewood, is central to our role as a charity. We are enriched by the generations of architects, artists, designers, collectors, gardeners, and individuals who have lived and worked here over hundreds of years, and most importantly, we highlight our commitment to maintaining the relevance of Harewood and the work of the Trust, both now and in the future.”

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