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Trust Director Jane Marriott

Harewood House Shortlisted for Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award

Terrace Garden. Harewood House,Yorkshire, UK. Early Autumn, September 2015.

 

The beautiful and diverse gardens of Harewood House have been shortlisted for the prestigious Garden of the Year Award from Historic Houses, sponsored by world-famous auction house Christie’s.””

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Decided by a public vote, the Award recognises the importance of some of the country’s most spectacular gardens with outstanding horticultural and public appeal. The 100 acres of gardens at Harewood include the formal, intricately designed Italian parterre on the Terrace; the Himalayan Garden that takes visitors to mountains on the other side of the world; the naturalistic planting of the lakeside woodlands; and the inviting Walled Garden, used now to grow produce and for innovative, immersive exhibitions.

Ben Cowell, Historic Houses Director General, comments:

“We are a nation of garden lovers. The experience of lockdown has only made us appreciate the wonders of the garden even more. This is true whether we are lucky enough to tend a garden of our own, or simply enjoy visiting professionally maintained gardens to appreciate the work of talented gardening teams.

“Every year, we hold a vote in a competition to find the UK’s greatest garden. The eight gardens in our shortlist represent the very finest gardens open to the public across the country.

We are proud to have run the Garden of the Year award annually since 1984 with the support of Christie’s. Every year the race to the title is hard-fought, and this year’s shortlist is no exception. Please do cast your vote, and show your support for these wonderful gardens and the talented gardeners who brought them to life.”

In 2020 Harewood’s gardens became even more important, providing a vital source of respite for local communities during the coronavirus restrictions.

Jane Marriott, Harewood House Trust Director comments:

“Visitors enthusiastically returned when the gardens were re-opened in July 2020, with the wide open spaces allowing families and friends to meet safely, and the beauty of the surroundings promoting peace and wellbeing for all. It brought a lot of joy for us at Harewood, to be able to provide a space for people to come together during such difficult times. We do hope that our wonderful gardens brought some relief, and that visitors will vote for us for Garden of the Year.”

“Harewood’s gardens nod to the past whilst looking to the future. The Archery Border takes inspiration from the Victorian obsession with exotic planting, since it lies beneath the Terrace built by Sir Charles Barry in the 1840s. The Himalayan Garden grew around Princess Mary’s 1930s rock garden, with planting informed by her correspondence with the Royal Botanic Gardens; and the Walled Garden, once a kitchen garden to support the House’s role as a hospital during the First World War, now again has fruits and vegetables planted in neat allotments. However, the methods for growing are changing with Harewood’s environmental concerns.”

Head Gardener Trevor Nicholson, who has been at Harewood for over 25 years, comments:

“Our vegetable plots have been converted to a ‘no-dig’ cultivation system to conserve soil ecology, save water and reduce the carbon footprint. Plants for pollinators are interspersed among organically-grown crops, to enrich the biodiversity of the garden, and plant material is recycled into compost, used throughout the gardens as mulch and soil conditioner.”

Anyone who appreciates and values the stunning Harewood House gardens can vote for Harewood to win the Garden of the Year Award here.

Voting closes on Thursday 30 September and the winner will be announced in November.

Harewood House & Geraldine Connor Foundation selected as partners for new youth programme

Harewood is delighted to have been selected in partnership with The Geraldine Connor Foundation as a Key partner for ‘Where we Are…’ a new national programme for young people by The British Museum.

Organised by the British Museum, and supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, projects will be led by and co-produced with young people. The open and collaborative nature of these projects will enable creative and unconstrained approaches towards the idea of arts and culture. With direct input from young people aged 16–24, these bespoke projects will develop and evolve in response to a need in the local community. The Key Partner organisations involved span from a museum to historic house and art gallery and will support under-served young people to produce diverse and unique projects with their charity counterparts. These third sector bodies have missions ranging from a focus on young carers, a nurturing of new talent and the provision of music and arts education.

Harewood House Trust and the Geraldine Connor Foundation will work on a project with the idea that Harewood House acts as ‘My House’ – a place belonging to everyone individually. Young people will form a creative response to any aspect of the house, its landscape its collections and its history, including exploring decolonisation narratives and varying ways to present history.

Selina McGonagle, Director at Geraldine Connor Foundation said: “The Geraldine Connor Foundation is thrilled to have been selected to be part of the Where we are… programme. This co-produced project will be an opportunity for young people to explore the history of Harewood House creatively in their own way, giving them the freedom to express what the house means to them today.”

Jane Marriott, Trust Director at Harewood House said: “Since 2012 Geraldine Connor Foundation and Harewood House have worked closely on creative projects for young people across Leeds and the wider area. We do this in order to lift up marginalised voices and promote equality, diversity and inclusion. We use our programme to engage our audiences with the urgent issues of our time. It is therefore wonderful to have this commitment recognised by the British Museum and to be a partner in the Where we are… programme, offering underrepresented young groups the opportunity to address issues such as this across the UK today.”

FIND OUT MORE 
The British Museum – Where We Are …
The Geraldine Connor Foundation 
Follow Harewood on social media @HarewoodHouse

A year of great highs – Jane Marriott Reflects

December and the Christmas break are a good time to reflect on the past year, and what a year 2019 has been.

There are many highlights that spring to mind straight away, from the launch of the inaugural Harewood Biennial Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters to ending with this beautiful Christmas House, A Night at the Mansion, and along the way seeing the number of new Members grow the Harewood community and celebrating and sharing the practice of craft with visitors during our first ever Make It Harewood annual festival.

I have to confess that we started with no intention of launching a Biennial to celebrate ‘why craft matters’, but the overwhelming enthusiasm and support for the concept of the show, the growing numbers of people passionate about craft, shopping locally and supporting creative individuals and makers, made us reconsider.

Harewood has always been a place of great craftsmanship, from the late 1700’s through to today, the Lascelles family have been consistent supporters of artists and makers. So Harewood seemed a very natural home. Whilst London is a thriving hub of craft, there is no other significant, regular craft exhibition, we wanted that to change and so we decided to do just that!

Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters received some fantastic feedback and achieved for us two main visions – to showcase the best of contemporary craft currently in the UK, and to present a different perspective of Harewood, that of a living and breathing house. And so, we will return with the next Biennial in 2021, and we have invited Hugo MacDonald to return as the curator, and the second Make It Harewood will be back again in early July 2020.

We’ve established a set of ambitions for The Biennial long term:

‘To be the pre-eminent venue outside London for craft and design. We will offer a new perspective of Harewood and our collections, celebrating great craftsmanship through the centuries with beautiful new work. Our legacy, will be to create a cultural project that provides a unique insight, over time, on craft and design as a business and creative endeavour and to provide unrivalled support and inspiration for makers, designers and artists.’

I couldn’t reflect on the year without mentioning several other highlights, including the celebration of 30 years of contemporary programming and the work that Diane Lascelles, Countess of Harewood, has done over the years to programme Terrace Gallery and bring contemporary art to Harewood. If you haven’t seen the film Postcard to the Future about her work, this can be accessed here.

We were also delighted to come to an agreement this year with the Victoria & Albert Museum, to retain the Chippendale pier tables and glasses on public display in the Music Room for which they were designed. They were gifted to the Nation earlier in the year and entrusted in the care of Harewood and the Victoria & Albert Museum. We also presented Pleasure Gardens, an audio installation in the Walled Garden during the summer, created by celebrated Australian musician Genevieve Lacey. The Walled Garden was transformed into a place of musical play.

We’re planning plenty of exciting new opportunities at Harewood in 2020, and I look forward to sharing the plans and welcoming you. We will be celebrating 50 years of our Tropical Bird Collection and Conservation programmes for a start…watch this space.

With less than a week before we end the year on a tremendous high and close the House for winter, a visitor’s recent comments can capture some of the impact this show has had;

‘Harewood has excelled itself this year! The theme was so clever and incredibly magical and immersive. We all loved it!‘ (LR, Leeds)

Find out more about the Christmas House: A Night at the Mansion. Harewood closes on Sunday 5 January, reopening 21 March 2020.

Taking Inspiration from Beyond Harewood

Chateau_de_ChaumontTrust Director, Jane Marriott, gives an insight into what has inspired her this season and how this plays into Harewood’s future.

Two weeks ago, I was on the train to France with two rather different purposes in mind. One was very much looking to the future, as I constantly scan the horizon for new ideas linked to the best artists and creative directors to bring back to Harewood. Secondly, we were celebrating the past, the stunning Renaissance times, as a new exhibition dedicated the artist El Greco opened in Paris, and features a loan of one of our star works; Allegory.

No matter what turmoil Brexit is currently in, we will continue to work with our brilliant colleagues overseas, drawing inspiration from what they are doing and working hard to attract many visitors back here to enjoy Yorkshire. One such beautiful place is Chateau de Chaumont sur Loire, founded in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 15th century. It was there that I hoped to explore not the historic architecture, but rather their hugely ambitious international garden festival, now in its 28th year , which showcases incredible contemporary art, placed imaginatively around the landscape.

Bringing historic houses and gardens alive with great programmes is only possible if we seek to work with the best artists and creative teams. Only then can we hope to encourage people to return time and again to Harewood, and even better, to join us as a Harewood Member.

Finding projects which will inspire us and genuinely enrich our lives, has to be balanced with protecting and sharing our heritage. A garden festival needs to be environmentally sustainable and like Make It Harewood earlier this year, needs to offer a full programme of talks, workshops and a hands-on learning, where people can engage on a deeper level. Watch this space as we look to develop the next exciting chapter for our gardens.

Meanwhile, as an Arts Council accredited museum, we have significant collections of Renaissance art, as well as the largest commission of Chippendale, beautiful Sevres and Chinese porcelain and 19th century portraits and landscapes. To see Harewood’s El Greco taking pride of place in the Grand Palais, before the show travels to America, was rather wonderful. We need to share our treasures, not just at Harewood, but with partners all over the world. If you are lucky enough to be in Paris this autumn, I really would recommend a visit!

Follow us on social media @HarewoodHouse to keep up to date with the latest stories and news.

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