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Nature’s Carpet


Last Saturday morning I stood with the artist, Sue Lawty, and our Educational Manager, Zoe, looking with amazement at the wonderful arrange of flowers, leaves, twigs and things I don’t even have a name for, that had been collected for the Nature’s Carpet workshop.

As part of the Yorkshire Year of the Textile, Sue Lawty had been invited to run a creative event, responding to our Axminster carpets. If you have visited the house, you will have seen these carpets, one in the Yellow Drawing Room and the other in the Music Room. The pattern in each carpet reflects the ceiling of the room and they are extremely rare – one of only a handful still remaining in their original country house settings.

Harewood House Trust is currently working on raising funds to pay for one of these carpets to be conserved and we have been talking to our visitors about this all year. Both carpets are in a very fragile state, but the Yellow Drawing Room carpet is even more urgently requiring care and attention; it’s an expensive and complicated procedure. Just moving the carpets is difficult because of their size and fragility requiring eight people and hours of time.

The workshop provided a fun and creative way to raise the profile of the Yellow Drawing Room carpet, but also created an opportunity to make something amazing in a day! Our gardening team went foraging for leaves and flowers which were separated by type and colour into different bags. Even though autumn hasn’t waved its magic paintbrush over the landscape just yet, the variety of colours was quite extraordinary and made me realise that the landscape is far from just being `green`.

All through the day families with young children and adults who just wanted to get creative came and worked with Sue to build a multi-coloured pattern that echoes some of the beautiful patterns of the original carpet. We had photographs of the Axminster carpets pinned up which provided inspiration and a starting point. There was no instruction that it `had to be done this way` as Sue encouraged everyone to make their own response by working on one little bit, and together, over the day, we made a beautiful `Nature’s Carpet`.

Nicola Stephenson, Exhibitions and Projects Producer


Sue Lawty is an artist who uses unconventional materials to make contemporary artworks, including tapestries and carpets made from stone. Her work is exhibited internationally and she was Artist in Residence at the V & A Museum, London in 2005.

Announcing Gormley at Harewood

At last night’s private view to launch Harewood’s Epstein exhibition Finding Adam, Diane Howse (Viscountess Lascelles) announced that sculptor Antony Gormley will be showing two new pieces of work in the Terrace Gallery later this summer.

Our current exhibition ‘Finding Adam’ explores the epic journey of Sir Jacob Epstein’s magnificent alabaster sculpture Adam from his origins in Epstein’s studio in London to Harewood House in Yorkshire, via Blackpool, New York, Cape Town and the Edinburgh Festival, as well as celebrating his return from cleaning and exhibiting at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

“Adam and Epstein are a very hard act to follow,” said artist/curator Diane Howse. “I knew of Antony’s relationship to Epstein’s work and all of us here are huge fans of Antony, so we’re thrilled to have two pieces by him in the Terrace Gallery later this summer. It’s very much in keeping with our policy of showing the best of contemporary art alongside our historic collections, something my father-in-law Lord Harewood set in motion when he brought Adam here in the 1970’s. Yorkshire is rapidly becoming the place to see modern sculpture: the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Henry Moore Institute are well-established of course and they are about to be joined by the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield, which opens later this month. We’re proud to be playing our part in this celebration, not only with the Epstein exhibition, but also by showing work by one of Britain’s finest living artists.”

Antony Gormley adds: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to show two works at Harewood House, long associated with ‘Adam’, Epstein’s powerful evocation of masculine yearning carved from a massive block of English alabaster.

My material is iron. Smelted and cast in Wednesbury, it also engages with the block but uses the language of architecture to interpret the male human body as an unstable space made up of individual cells fused and propped together. The room in which the works will be shown is supported by four stone columns that make you aware of the load path of the building. I hope that these two works, in which columns and masses describe an unsteady vertical stack twisting through 90 degrees, will allow the viewer to think about his or her own body as a vertical tower.”

Antony Gormley’s installation will open to the public in the Terrace Gallery at Harewood on Saturday 13th August and will run till 30th October.

You can read more about the forthcoming Gormley exhibition on our webpage here… www.harewood.org/gormley

Norman Ackroyd at Harewood

Norman Ackroyd RA is used to wild, romantic landscapes as well as being out in all weathers armed with sketchbooks, watercolours, etching plates and acid… which is just as well as his visit to Harewood took place on an unseasonally cold day in June earlier this year!

House & Garden were keen to photograph Norman here at Harewood as part of their piece on prominent house painters (check out the October edition of House & Garden to read the article).

Norman was first invited to Harewood in 1997 to mark the bicentenary of Turner’s watercolours of Harewood House commissioned by the 1st Viscount Lascelles 200 years earlier, in 1797. As a master of his artform, Norman was the ideal choice, especially as he is, as Turner was before him, obsessed with geogrpahy and travelling.

Retracing his steps to the hillside where he came to sketch Harewood House overlooking its ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, wreathed in autumn mist Norman was enthusiastically greeted by our cows who have been enjoying the view in their summer pasture!

Norman Ackroyd selected several watercolours from the Harewood collection as part of our exhibition ‘Twenty-One‘ this year.

What Norman had to say about his involvement in the Terrace Gallery and this year’s exhibition at Harewood:

The foundation of the Royal Academy of Arts in London by George III in 1768 opened up an awareness and patronage of British artists that had not previously existed. We are all aware of the great surge of portraiture led by Reynolds, Gainsborough et al – but it also resulted in a golden age of watercolour landscape with Turner, Girtin, Cotman, Varley, Cox and many others.

It was a great privilege to be asked to visit Harewood on the 200th anniversary of Turner’s visit, in 1997 as a 22 year old, to produce my impressions of the house and grounds. I have therefore chosen three watercolours, from that golden age, as my contribution to this anniversary.

Image left: Harewood in Autumn, Norman Ackroyd

Find out more about Harewood collections, exhibitions and more on our website… www.harewood.org