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art exhibition

Creating an Exhibition

Visit Yorkshire to see exhibitions

I sometimes wonder if people question how an exhibition appears on the walls and what was involved in getting it there. Is it enough just to enjoy (hopefully!) what people see in front of them?

Here at Harewood, we have a series of exhibition spaces where we display works of art. From a dedicated contemporary gallery to the grounds themselves, there are wonderful places throughout which lend themselves to exhibitions.

Creating exhibitions requires a team effort. Working together, we look at the year as a whole to see what might trigger a particular response. Is there a special anniversary or a national ‘year of’ that Harewood could respond to? Do we have items in our collection that could be part of the programme?

The House, the collection, and the landscape are incredibly rich sources of material; the right theme can provide the ideal opportunity to display a particular object or tell a story. Artworks, furniture, documents and textiles are all considered. However making connections between topics and the collection might not always be obvious. We need to create links between artists and genres to complete our exhibition programme.

Harewood’s link with contemporary art continuously influences our exhibition calendar. Each year, we host exhibitions in the Terrace Gallery, which was the first, dedicated contemporary gallery space in an English country house. Opened in 1989, artists including Antony Gormley and Sir Sidney Nolan have presented works here.

To create a contemporary response to our chosen topic, we begin by researching artists. Which artist’s work offers a connection with our chosen topic? What techniques are they using? Will our audience be challenged?

Once selected, we invite the chosen artist to Harewood so that they can get a feel for the place, meet the team, and begin exploring ideas. It’s a very exciting time! Connecting the chosen topic with the artist’s vision can take several months, and may involve many creative discussions.

Exhibitions using works created by deceased artists are often the most complex. Multiple requests to loan their work are needed, permissions from the artist’s estate, and condition reports on each object may be required.

How the final exhibition is presented forms a significant part of the curatorial process. As the exhibition layout is designed, we discuss the best way to coherently and attractively present the works so that they have the strongest impact. This can include how a work is framed or how an object is displayed.

Whilst preparing the layout, we work with graphic designers to complete any interpretive requirements. Sometimes these can be straightforward with simple panels and titles needed. In other cases, more design work is required to give an exhibition a clear identity.

2016 is the tercentenary of the birth of Lancelot “Capability” Brown.  The Capability Brown Festival is the first-ever nationwide celebration of this eminent landscape designer. Boasting 1000 acres of “Capability” Brown designed landscape, Harewood represents one of his most important designs. The grade 1 listed parkland has remained unchanged since it was created in the late 18th century. With soft, rolling hills and mature, established tree lines, visitors can experience the idyllic, picturesque views “Capability” Brown imagined for Harewood in the 1760s. It is this story which has inspired the 2016 exhibition programme.

Over a year of planning and programming completed. The results of the process are below:

The Art of Landscape and North and South, 25th March – 30th October
Watercolour Rooms

Using artworks from Harewood’s collection, this exhibition shows the unchanged vistas of the “Capability” Brown design. Watercolours by JMW Turner, painted in 1797, can be seen alongside early photographs captured by Roger Fenton in 1860. Watch a film by Simon Warner following the original carriage route created by Brown on horseback. Read more

Look, Touch and Listen
Explore Harewood’s landscape with your senses in a self-guided tour of the grounds.

Shade into Shade, 25th March – 24th July
Terrace Gallery

Imaginative photography by Finnish artist, Jorma Puranen provides a contemporary take on the landscape. This exhibition includes images of Harewood’s parkland and the lake. Jorma takes photographs of a reflection rather than the actual subject itself. The result is a mysterious, painterly, shimmering quality which shows the Brownian views in a new way. Read more

Great Capabilities Week, 4th – 12th June
In the landscape
Join one of our expert talks in the landscape and explore unspoiled parkland. Learn, garden, photograph and taste your way through the Grade 1 listed grounds. Read more
Places are limited 

a grove of delight, 30th July – 30th October
Terrace Gallery

Through words and images, the Scottish poet Thomas A. Clark will transform the Terrace Gallery into a grove, a space of quiet, of shade and reflection, set aside from the light and openness of Capability Brown’s landscape garden. Read more

By Nicola Stephenson, Exhibitions and Projects Producer

Harewood 2016 – What to expect

Capability Brown designed gardens at Harewood House

Harewood in the 21st century has become quite a complicated place. Most of you will know it as a place to visit. You might come to feed the penguins or watch the kids play on the Adventure Playground. You might come to enjoy Harewood House’s magnificent 18th century interiors or to attend the innovative and stimulating contemporary art exhibitions. You might come to stroll peacefully through the gardens, crossing the Terrace on your way round the Lake, getting caught up in the magic of the Himalayan Garden before reaching the Walled Garden with its vegetable plots and fruit trees.

I hope you do, because Harewood is somewhere for everyone to enjoy. But what you see is the just the tip of an iceberg. Harewood today is a network of businesses, all supporting each other, all designed to keep this most beautiful part of England’s most beautiful county looking good, as alive and as relevant as it has ever been through its 250 year history.

Explore the great outdoors at Harewood, Leeds

Explore the great outdoors

The bit you will see when you visit – the House, the gardens and grounds immediately around it – has been run as an educational charitable trust since the 1980s. This means that any income generated – entrance fees, gift aid, donations, grants and so on – has to be ploughed back into the charity’s activities. We have a dynamic and prize-winning programme of educational events for schools, but we take our educational remit much further than that. You’re never too old to stop learning! We get around 200,000 visitors a year and their support is absolutely vital if we are going to be able to continue to keep it all going.

Surrounding Harewood House Trust is the Harewood Estate, made up of several different businesses. The days of a country estate just being somewhere for a privileged few to stroll around and enjoy the views are long gone. Now, we let cottages in the village, offices in the converted farm buildings and provide the location for the outdoor sets for ITV’s long-running tale of Yorkshire country folk, Emmerdale. We have a farming company, managing the land in partnership with neighbouring farmers.  Most recently, we have invested in a major green energy project, which uses wood chip from our own trees to heat buildings across the estate and now Harewood House itself. This makes good business sense and it’s good for the environment too. All this – the buildings, the trees, the waterways, the many miles of public footpaths that criss-cross the estate – needs looking after: windows re-painted, woodland thinned, grass cut, footpaths properly maintained and the rest of it.

Harewood in Yorkshire has Capability Brown landscapes

Lancelot “Capability” Brown

Each year we look at what we do afresh, especially at what happens within the Harewood House Trust, what is available for the paying public. This year’s big theme is the landscape. 2016 is the tercentenary of the birth of England’s most famous landscape designer, Lancelot “Capability” Brown and we are delighted to be part of a nation-wide celebration of his extraordinary work. Astonishingly, Brown and his team created over 100 landscapes, four or five a year during his working life, though he can have only seen a few of them reach their maturity. Harewood is one of his finest, still unchanged since the 18th century, somewhere that is designed to be enjoyed, whether you are looking across it from the Terrace of Harewood House (The Terrace, a Victorian addition, was actually built several decades after Brown) or walking through it and catching glimpses of the House through carefully contrived vistas. As well as exhibitions about Brown and his visionary working methods, we have asked several contemporary artists to respond to this landscape in their own way, something we try to do whenever we can, bringing the historic and the present day together. And we’re re-launching the boat (called The Capability aptly enough) to give you long views from the Lake back to the south side of the House, as I’m sure Mr. Brown would have wished.

Visit Harewood Farm Experience

This winter we are undertaken the first phase of a major re-furbishment of the Bird Garden, an ongoing project that will take two or three years to complete. This has involved clearing and re-landscaping, taking down of some unsightly fences and the introducing new bird species as well as creating better views of some old timers. Everybody’s favourites, the penguins, have a handsomely re-decorated pool, with six new arrivals from Cotswold Wildlife Park joining the colony. We are also introducing for the first time a Farm Experience, with pigs, alpacas, pygmy goats and giant rabbits.

Something for everybody we hope, young and old, newcomers and long-standing season ticket holders. Over the summer we will give you more detailed insights into what goes on behind the scenes, the inside track from the real specialists. This is just a taster of the ever-changing, multi-faceted world of Harewood 2016.

Come and enjoy it!

David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood

2016 Exhibition Round Up

Capability Brown at Harewood, Yorkshire

Lancelot “Capability” Brown

Great Capabilities: Capability Brown at Harewood

2016 marks the 300 anniversary of the birth of Lancelot Capability Brown. The famous views from the Terrace represents one of the finest examples of his work and we have a programme of exhibitions that invite you to experience the landscape in new ways.

Roger Fenton image of Harewood from the south

25th March – 30th October
The Art of Landscape and North and South, Watercolour Rooms
Since Harewood was constructed artists have depicted the parkland. The Art of Landscape will display rare works created over 250 years of patronage, showing the unchanging beauty of the Capability Brown landscape. Works by Turner and other notable artists will be exhibited alongside rarely seen early photographs by pioneer Roger Fenton from 1860. To complete the exhibition, you will be able to enjoy the landscape on horseback with Simon Warner’s contemporary films captured over the autumn months.


25th March – 30th October
Look, touch and listen; a sensory exploration of the landscape, throughout the grounds.
Explore the parkland with your senses and enjoy our self-guided trail through the gardens.

Contemporary Art at Harewood House Trust

25th March – 17th July
Shade into Shade, Terrace Gallery

Finnish photographer Jorma Puranen has used a special technique to represent Harewood’s landscape. Using highly reflective painted boards and a camera, Jorma has photographed the reflection of our landscapes, rather than the actual landscape. The final results are truly beautiful.

24th July – 30th October
The Grove of Delight, Terrace Gallery


Moving away from visual depictions, poet Thomas A. Clark will respond to the famous vistas with words. Renowned for his poetry about the experience of walking through landscape, this exhibition will provide a fresh look at the connections we all have with Harewood’s parkland.

Work behind the scenes in the House

A busy schedule of deep cleaning is currently underway; we’ve polished, dusted and buffed everything from the floorboards to the spectacular Chippendale State Bed. Next on the list is the Gallery mirrors, which will involve delicate work high up on scaffolding.

We have continued work on improving storage conditions for collections not on display, such as textiles, prints and archives, involving a programme of re-housing and re-labelling. Additionally, textile conservators have been advising us on the conservation of Harewood’s Axminster carpets in the Yellow Drawing Room and Music Room, providing us with the opportunity to photograph for the first time the full length of the Yellow Drawing Room carpet, at 3 metres wide!

Harewood House display Lady Worsley costume

We encountered particular interest last year in our iconic portrait of Lady Worsley by Sir Joshua Reynolds, following the screening of a BBC drama, The Scandalous Lady W. Responding to this interest, we are borrowing the historically researched costume used in the programme, to be displayed in the new Information Centre. We hope this will encourage more people to come into the House to see this striking portrait where there will be a small display about Lady Worsley’s fascinating life.

This year the State Floor will be redisplayed to reflect landscape and gardening to celebrate Visit England’s Year of the English Garden and tercentenary of the birth of “Capability” Brown. In the China Room we will exhibit a selection of botanically themed ceramics and we will showcase a range of gardening books and literature from Harewood’s extensive libraries. We are looking forward to welcoming you for another busy season.

Ann Sumner, Historic Collections Advisor

Drama, Intrigue and Obsession

Harewood House launches new exhibition in 2014As part of the Yorkshire Festival, Harewood is launching a sensational new display throughout the House this Easter. In Pursuit of the Exquisite: Royal Sèvres, from Versailles to Harewood features the delicate and highly prized Sèvres porcelain collected by Edward ‘Beau’ Lascelles.  These extraordinary pieces survived the downfall of their original owners, the tumult of the French Revolution and the difficult journey from Versailles to Harewood.

This exquisite porcelain was obsessively collected by aristocratic and royal patrons, including the ill-fated King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.  After their executions, works from the Royal Palaces at Versailles were sold, and many of the finest pieces found their way to England. Edward, Viscount Lascelles (1764 – 1814) was one of several British collectors who acquired works along with the fashionable Prince Regent, later King George IV.

Known as ‘Beau’, Edward was among London’s most avid collectors. He had an eye for beautiful objects and a bank balance to support his expensive taste. 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of his death and In Pursuit of the Exquisite is a fitting tribute to a great collector of Sèvres and an early patron of British watercolourists, including JMW Turner and Thomas Girtin whose work is also now on display in the House.

Anna Dewsnap, Head of House and Collections said, “We are delighted that the distinguished Sèvres scholar Dame Rosalind Savill has worked with Harewood to curate this wonderful exhibition. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the House.”

Lady Harewood said, “Harewood’s world renowned collection of Sevres has never before been displayed in it’s entirety.  These exquisite pieces celebrate the extraordinary skill and achievement of the many individuals who have worked for Sevres over the past 200 years.  With over a 100 pieces on display In Pursuit of the Exquisite is not to be missed.”

Alongside the Sèvres exhibition, work from three contemporary artists make connections between the past and present. In the Terrace Gallery, Dan Scott explores the poignant life of Queen Marie Antoinette through video and sound, creating new works which examine the idea of objects as silent witnesses. Below Stairs in the China Cupboards, Michelle Taylor and Livia Marin delicately transform everyday china into unique artworks.