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Culture really is around every corner in Leeds

Revealed: Culture really is around every corner in Leeds

5 April 2022: Leeds’s cultural venues are uncovering culture like never before as they come together to celebrate the diverse offering of the city and encourage residents and visitors alike to join in with the cultural fun.

Named as the UK’s most vibrant city and placed in the top 100 places to visit in the world, Leeds will see its cultural institutions come together this spring as part of its Culture Around Every Corner campaign.

Home to over 40 cultural institutions representing the very best of culture in the UK, this campaign is led by Visit Leeds in collaboration with Culture Consortium Leeds (CCL) and other organisations such as Art Hostel, East Street Arts, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Chapel FM Arts Centre which together create the unique landscape of Leeds’ cultural scene.

An experience like no other, Leeds is a leading centre for culture, boasting a scene of international food & drink, street art, country house estates, ground-breaking new performances, legendary music festivals and shows and renowned global sport.

Revealing that culture is around every corner in Leeds, the destination management organisation for the city, Visit Leeds and all cultural partners have uncovered that visitors are never further than a 10 minute walk away from a cultural attraction in Leeds.

Highlighting the Leeds experience with the message that culture in Leeds is open, Culture Around Every Corner is challenging residents to explore and rekindle a love for the great culture that is on their doorstep, whilst visitors have an immense opportunity to try something new and uniquely ‘Leeds’.

Edward Appleyard, Director of Engagement at Harewood House Trust and Co-Chair of CCL’s Marketing and Communications group, commented:  “As a city that’s in demand, Culture Around Every Corner has been designed to bring the cultural venues of our city together and show visitors the breadth of cultural experiences there are to enjoy. We’re extremely excited for the launch and our venues working more closely than ever before to celebrate this incredible, culture-rich city.”

Hannah Hughes, Marketing and Communications Director at Leeds Playhouse and Co-Chair of CCL’s Marketing and Communications group also commented: “We’re delighted to be working with a variety of our cultural venues in the city and we can’t wait to reveal what Leeds has to offer as part of this campaign. There’s a real appetite for venues to work in collaboration with one another and support each other and this demonstrates how fantastic the Leeds cultural community is.”

 

This campaign comes on the back of two years of lockdowns, and the message is loud and clear – culture in Leeds is back for good.

Some of the cultural highlights for this season (April to June) include: The riotous Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Leeds Playhouse, directed by Jamie Fletcher and starring drag queen Davina De Campo in April; a solo exhibition of new work by Nigerian artist Bubu Ogisi at The Tetley; the Henry Moore Institute celebrates the UN Year of Glass with an exhibition of contemporary glass sculpture; Leeds Museums and Galleries host workshops, trails and activities alongside exhibitions including ‘Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy’; Opera North’s version of Wagner’s most mysterious drama Parsifal opens in June; Howard Assembly Rooms present the best in eclectic and international music every weekend and host musicians and singers from the asylum community for Refugee Week in June; Leeds Grand Theatre’s stellar line-up sees Broadway hit School of Rock, the National Theatre’s award-winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, plus a bit of razzle dazzle in Chicago

Outside the city centre Harewood House Biennial this year is Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters, an exhibition showcasing how small radical acts can have a massive impact on the world and Yorkshire Sculpture Park present David Nash: Full Circle until June.

And if you are looking for activities to entertain the family you can try: Family favourite The Gruffalo at Leeds Playhouse in April; Royal Armouries’ jousting tournaments and Medieval Easter with the chance to try some sword skills; Leeds Young Film Festival 2022 at the Carriageworks combining games with film screenings; explore dark and murky disease ridden streets, and ask ‘Can Robots Care?’ at the sometimes gruesome but always fascinating Thackray Museum of Medicine; and at the first direct Arena, The Masked Singer comes to the live stage plus a host of full-pelt live music and more.

Culture Around Every Corner precedes Leeds’ Year of Culture: Leeds 2023. Designed to ‘let culture loose’, Leeds 2023 will see 12 signature events alongside a multitude of creative experiences take place across the city in a celebration of all things culture. Made for everyone, local, national, and international artists and communities will be coming together to create a year-long celebration unique to Leeds. Gearing up to the Year of Culture, the Culture Around Every Corner campaign is just the start of what’s to come.

To find more about Culture Around Every Corner and to plan your next trip, visit www.visitleeds.co.uk/culture-around-every-corner

 

ENDS

For more information, please contact VisitLeeds@ilkagency.com

Notes to Editors:

Visit Leeds is the official Destination Management Organisation for the city of Leeds, which aims to showcase the breadth of cultural attractions, innovative food & drink destinations and extensive shopping facilities on offer in Leeds and its surrounding areas. Its vision is for the city to be known as a world-class, modern and historic European destination with a reputation for a vibrant and creative cultural scene set against the backdrop of rich heritage and outstanding architecture.

As the second largest metropolitan area and one of the fastest growing cities in the UK outside of London, Leeds attracted over 30 million visitors in 2019 from both the UK and abroad. Its location and exceptional national and international transport links make it the ideal getaway for a variety of visitors to the Yorkshire region and beyond.

Not only is Leeds one of the greenest cities in Europe, it also ranks as the third best shopping destination in the UK outside of London as breath-taking Victorian arcades sit alongside iconic luxury brands and well-known high street retailers.

Leeds is brimming with a wealth of culture, history and diversity, having been home to the UK’s first West Indian Carnival back in 1967. The city’s rich culture is also reflected in the plethora of live events. From world-class organisations; Opera North, Northern Ballet, to unrivalled live music experiences and hilarious comedy, Leeds truly is a treasure trove of live entertainment.

Leeds is also notably known as a world-class sporting destination, having hosted the World Triathlon Series, The Cricket World Cup and The Ashes, while this year will see the city host the World Triathlon Series, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the British Transplant Games. Leeds is also home to Leeds United Football Club, Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and Rugby League’s Leeds Rhinos.

Over the past 15 years, regeneration has modernised the city centre, while complementing its incredible architecture and heritage. The city is now synonymous with the very best England has to offer; bursting with life and cultural energy.

 

For more information, visit: www.visitleeds.co.uk     

 

Culture Consortium Leeds 

Established to network Leeds’ greatest cultural offerings together with a shared ambition and a passion for the city, Culture Consortium Leeds includes 17 venues, theatres, visitor attractions, museums, galleries, performance arts organisations and others who harness the power of great culture in Leeds to entertain and engage over 4 million people every year and generate £135 million for the local economy. 

Members included in Culture Around Every Corner are: Harewood House Trust, Royal Armouries, Leeds Playhouse, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds Museums & Galleries, Temple Newsham, Lotherton Hall, Leeds Heritage Theatres, The Tetley, The Carriageworks, Millennium Square, Leeds Town Hall, University of Leeds Galleries, Opera North, Northern Ballet, Henry Moore Institute and Thackray Museum of Medicine.

 

Ten Years of A Level Art on Display

A snapshot of art on display

Over 400 A-level art students have displayed over 400 pieces of artwork at Harewood House over the last ten years, in a schools’ partnership that has grown and flourished during that time. From this month until September, 91 pieces of art of exceptional quality are on display in The Education Suite in The Courtyard, free to view.

At a recent launch, attended by over 200 people including students, their families, tutors and friends, Harewood House Trust Director Jane Marriott and Head Curator Hannah Obee handed out three Highly Commended prizes and one Best in Show, to pupils whose work spanned a broad range of art including photography, design, painting and mixed media.

“By welcoming a new generation of young artists to display their work, in a professional space at Harewood, in an environment that has long been associated with high quality contemporary art and a well-established education programme, we can offer them a chance to succeed.” Said Jane Marriott.

“It is no secret that the Arts have come under significant political and curriculum pressure in recent years, as the focus of successive governments on literacy, maths and science has marginalised its teaching in schools. We therefore wanted to assist the nurturing of a generation of creative and visual thinkers; to develop autonomy, observational and analytical skills.

“It is with great pride and delight that we are able to offer this high-profile platform for local young artists. The chosen pieces of work are of exceptional quality and they inspire not only us, but those who will visit and enjoy them. The Arts matter and the creative industries is one of our most thriving industries. Harewood has, and will, continue to play a vital role in supporting this.”

To keep up to date on more stories like this, follow us on social media @harewoodhouse

13 schools across the Leeds, Harrogate, Ilkley and Otley areas as part of the Red Kite Schools Alliance; 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.

Otley residents visit Harewood House to honour Thomas Chippendale.

Chippendale 300

The statue of Thomas Chippendale in Otley by Graham Ibeson

Over 500 residents from the market town of Otley in West Yorkshire visited Harewood House on 5 June, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Master Carpenter, Thomas Chippendale’s baptism. Residents were invited from Chippendale’s birthplace to visit the House and Estate for free, as part of a celebration of the wider exhibition currently running across the Estate.

Happy Baptism Day Mr Chippendale – Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Baptism of Thomas Chippendale on 5 June in Otley and at Harewood.

In this third Blog from Ann Sumner, Historic Collections Adviser, we hear about Otley Day at Harewood House and the Chippendale Society Annual Dinner on 5th June.

Over the last few weeks, driving through the Yorkshire town of Otley on the River Wharfe, the Chippendale 300 bunting and banners strewn across the streets have proclaimed the tercentenary of Thomas Chippendale, one of the market town’s most famous sons. The celebrations really started on 5th June 2018, which marked the tercentenary of the cabinetmaker’s baptism at All Saints Parish Church 300 years ago. I set off early to Otley en route to Harewood, that morning in glorious summer sunshine and found an atmosphere of real excitement on market day.

I headed for All Saints Church, which is little changed since the 18th century, to see the new exhibition The Life of Thomas Chippendale, 2018, which runs throughout the month of June. There I found informative storyboards and visitors to the town, eagerly embracing the new Visit Otley Chippendale Trail walking map. And I met enthusiastic Otley resident Meg Morton, who was busy putting up posters for the Baptism Concert that evening, Musick for a Summer Evening with soprano Joanne Dexter and the Chippendale Singers. We considered together the current font with the announcement about his baptism, but sadly admitted that this was not the original font used for his actual baptism!

Chippendale 300

Otley resident Meg Morten enjoying the exhibition The life of Thomas Chippendale with Ann Sumner at All Saints Church on 5 June

Thomas Chippendale was the son of John Chippendale, a carpenter and joiner in Otley and Mary Drake the daughter of a local stonemason, who married in July 1715. It is thought that Thomas was born in a cottage where the Skipton Building Society is now on Boroughgate. In actuality, we know frustratingly little about his early childhood. I moved on to The Old Grammar School, where it is probable that the young Thomas received an early education. Outside is the statue of Chippendale by Graham Ibeson, the Barnsley sculptor. The building, originally Prince Henry’s Grammar School, is now the Stew and Oyster pub and upstairs there is a special splendid display of photographs of some of Chippendale’s most famous pieces of sculpture including Harewood’s famous wine cooler from the Dining Room suite. The pub hosted a light-hearted birthday party for Chippendale with a quiz and period folk music on the previous Saturday and guests dressed in 18th century costume.

Conservation in action

The in-house Conservation team at Harewood working on the Chippendale Wall borders during the Conservation in Action demonstration on Otley Day held at Harewood 5 June 2018

After chatting to some fascinated visitors, who had come especially to pay homage to the great man, I drove on to Harewood, just 7 miles from Chippendale’s home town, along with many other Otley residents. To mark the Baptism Day at Harewood House, where the Chippendale firm secured their largest commission, free entry was offered to the people of his home town. And they came in their droves to see the exhibition Thomas Chippendale: Designer, Maker, Decorator, Decorator. Visitors looked at the exhibition which explores the remarkable achievements of Chippendale at Harewood including the innovative mirrored display of the superb the Diana and Minerva commode. They particularly enjoyed the conservation in action demonstration by our in-house conservation team who were working on sections of wall borders which were used to cover the edges of both paper and cloth wall coverings by the Chippendale firm where they met dado rails, architraves and door cases. These borders were extremely expensive. At Harewood each room had a different elaborate border which cost 20 – 25 shillings for 4 feet (1.2 m) which was the equivalent for one week’s wages for a cabinetmaker at the time.

During the afternoon, I was fortunate enough to lead a tour of the exhibitions for Otley residents who were enormously enthusiastic about Thomas and his workshop’s activity furnishing the rooms here at Harewood and the range of skills they observed in the superb furniture on display. There was a real sense of pride amongst those on my tour, during which we considered how early tourists and visitors from the preacher John Wesley to the pastel portrait painter John Russell had reacted to the lavish new interiors. At the end I asked some residents what they thought of the interiors and furniture by Chippendale today, 300 years after his birth? Originally some tourists loved the interiors while others were not so enamoured and that was just the same today!

Here is some of the feedback:
‘I loved all the glitz and glamour – all the gold’

‘We are here to support the old man from Otley’

‘I really admired the craftsmanship but overall it’s a bit fussy and over the top for me!’

‘I think it is more for looking at than reclining on’ (reference to the State Bed)

There was just time to dash home to change and then it was off to Otley again – passing All Saints Church where people were arriving for the concert, we were heading on for the Otley Golf Club where the Annual Chippendale Dinner was being held.

Chippendale 300

Beckie Burton, Collections Assistant at Harewood House Trust, with Ann Sumner at the Chippendale Society Annual Dinner 2018.

Always a lovely venue, that evening the weather was beautiful and the views were stunning, so guests enjoyed drinks on the terrace outside and admired the Baptism Cake, chatting to Adam Bowett the Chairman and Peggy Pullen, the in-coming Membership Secretary of the Chippendale Society. We awaited the arrival of our speaker, the Chippendale scholar Antony Coleridge, renowned since writing his book Chippendale Furniture: The Works of Thomas Chippendale and his Contemporaries in the Rococo Style. We enjoyed a good meal before his after dinner speech.

Anthony reminded us that his great great uncle was Samuel Taylor Coleridge who also had the same kind of love affair with Yorkshire that Anthony himself enjoyed, as he praised the great Chippendale commissions at Nostell Priory and Harewood House. After a fascinating survey of his experiences of Chippendale throughout his career he was thanked by Lord St Oswald, President of the Chippendale Society, who praised his passion for his subject and the eloquent way in which pieces of furniture were described, reminding us that Thomas Chippendale’s name was associated with exquisite furniture and perfection and that all of us, gathered together on such a beautiful evening in Otley for a very special occasion, were passionate about Chippendale’s achievements.

While coffee was served, I was fortunate enough to catch up with James Lomax, Honorary Curator of the Chippendale Society and co-curator of the brilliant exhibition in Leeds Thomas Chippendale 1718 – 1779: A Celebration of British Craftsmanship and Design. We chatted about the Society and achievements of the Chippendale 300 programme this year so far, over a piece of the Baptism cake, which was baked in Otley by the Patisserie Viennoise.

Chippendale 300

Ann Sumner enjoys an after-dinner conversation with James Lomax at the Chippendale Society Annual Dinner at Otley Golf Club

Ann: James, you have recently researched the history of The Chippendale Society which was founded in 1965 and I wonder have these annual dinners been held on his Baptism Day since the 1960s and has this for you been one of the most memorable occasions?

James: You could almost say that the Chippendale Society began life as a dining club! In 1963 a well-known Otley figure, Thomas Pickles, announced in the local paper that he was organising a dinner on 5th June to commemorate Chippendale’s birthday and invited anyone interested to apply for tickets. It was so successful, not least with the numerous people in the area named ‘Chippendale’, that it was repeated the following year. When the Society was formed in 1965 the dinner became an annual event and one of the main events on the calendar. We’ve always had a well-known personality to speak as our guest of honour and we were particularly keen to ask Anthony Coleridge this tercentenary year as he is without doubt the most distinguished scholar on everything to do with Chippendale whose magnificent study first appeared in 1968.

Ann: The Society aims to promote the appreciation and study of the work of Thomas Chippendale and the tercentenary year has been a busy one for you all. Tell us how the Society have specifically promoted the achievements of Thomas Chippendale senior and about some of the highlights for the Chippendale Society thus far in 2018.

James: The Society was well aware that the tercentenary was approaching and lobbied hard for a major exhibition! Fortunately Leeds Museums and Galleries were also keen to promote one of the area’s local heroes so we began a fruitful partnership which has resulted in the present exhibition. To date it has attracted nearly 40,000 visitors and has been a great success.

At the same time the Society took the lead in initiating a wider project intending to promote Chippendale. Thus the Chippendale300 project was born – a partnership of 14 different historic houses and organisations who all have their own programmes focussing on the great man. A Steering Group set up an excellent website which included a message of welcome from Prince Charles. Our events, exhibitions, lectures, workshops and publications are promoted on it and news stories. The programme continues to grow every day!

Ann: Today has been a great day in Otley, culminating in the dinner here. Tell us something about what we know about Chippendale’s family in Otley three hundred years ago, who were they and what do we know of his early life here?

James: We don’t know an awful lot about Chippendale’s life in Otley before he left for York and London, although a certain amount can be surmised. His family had been joiners, carpenters, builders and surveyors in Wharfedale for several generations and this was his essential background. He had no immediate siblings until his father married again and produced a new family who continued to live and work in Otley in this line of business until the 1960s. I did once see a white van inscribed with the words ‘Chippendale – Builders, Joiners, Shopfitters’.

Ann: We are here in Otley tonight and I’ve really enjoyed my day in the town and at Harewood. What would you recommend a Chippendale enthusiast see in Otley.

James: Your first port of call should be Graham Ibbeson’s statue of Chippendale in Manor Square beside the Old Manor once Prince Henry’s Grammar School where Chippendale might have gone to school. Then to the Parish Church where he was baptised, with some good early Georgian vernacular furnishings which were the sort of thing Chippendale’s family might have supplied. Then there is the site of his father’s premises in Boroughgate marked with a blue plaque where Chippendale might have been born, and in Bondgate there are the Chippendale Tea Rooms in the house owned by Chippendale’s uncle, a schoolmaster. And one can wander round the narrow streets of the old part of the town to soak up the atmosphere of an early Georgian market town which gave birth to a genius.

Ann: Today at Harewood we have opened our doors to Otley residents and I had the privilege to take a group on a tour of the exhibition Designer, Maker, Decorator this afternoon. Everyone seemed very proud of the Chippendale heritage and I wonder do you think this awareness has increased in the town over the last few months? Driving through I’ve noticed all the bunting!

James: It’s really very exciting to see how the people of Otley have pulled out all the stops to mark the tercentenary of one of its famous sons. It is great to hear of the birthday party thrown on Saturday, the sell-out concert and especially how many of them came to Harewood today and enjoyed your exhibitions. Throughout June there’s an ongoing festival, Celebrating Chippendale, in Otley with a host of different events and there is a concert going on even as we speak.

Ann: The Chippendale Society has done so much to raise awareness of Thomas Chippendale and his son Thomas over the past 50 years and particularly this year. What more can we look forward to in the second half of the tercentenary year?

James: The exhibition at Leeds Museum which ends on 9th June was a ‘warm up’ for the different events taking place over the rest of the summer around the country. At Harewood there’s a new display of one of Chippendale’s greatest masterpieces, the Diana and Minerva Commode and a long lost mirror from the White Drawing Room; at Nostell, Paxton and Burton Constable there are exhibitions exploring his work at these houses; an exhibition at Paxton House opened today and there are lecture series and study days at Dumfries House, Weston Park and Firle Place. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the V&A Museum have arranged new displays and the former are publishing (for the first time) all Chippendale’s brilliant drawings for the first edition of his great book, The Director. We are so pleased to hear that funding has been secured for the symposium comparing the Harewood and Paxton commissions on 29 September at Paxton which will be fascinating.

Ann: Thank you James so much for your time tonight which I really appreciate. It’s been a wonderful day with so much enthusiasm for Thomas Chippendale’s work 300 years after his birth.

With special thanks to Christie’s for their sponsorship of the Chippendale 300 blog series.