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The Ferry at Harewood

Why isn’t the Ferry running?

Harewood’s Ferry made its maiden voyage in June 2018 and has carried thousands of Harewood visitors every week between the Bird Garden, Bothy and Walled Garden.
In May 2022, the water level in the Lake started to decrease due to low rainfall throughout winter and spring. In June the water level reached a point where the Ferry ran aground and could no longer run. The mud banking you can see around the Lake has not been seen since the Lake was last drained many decades ago.

When will it be operating again?

Unless the weather for the remaining half of the year features a consistent and heavy amount of rain, it is unlikely that the water level will reach a point where we can operate the Ferry again until 2023.
Harewood House Trust, the charity that looks after this site, and the Harewood Estate are working with the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council to ensure the health and wellbeing of Harewood’s wildlife that rely on the Lake. The Trust and Estate are also looking at the Lake’s infrastructure to help plan and mitigate against the impact of climate change, including prolonged periods of dry weather.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Harewood House Trust Appoints Darren Pih as Chief Curator and Artistic Director

Pih joins the Harewood House Trust executive team from Tate Liverpool. In this new role, he will lead the charity’s award-winning exhibition programme, and care for the museum’s outstanding collection of painting, decorative interiors, furniture and porcelain. His work will further Harewood’s purpose to make heritage relevant, using the collections and landscape to help shape a more sustainable world, unlock people’s creativity and enrich lives.

Over the past five years, Harewood has received universal recognition for its innovative programming including the Harewood Biennial alongside its new Craft Spotlight and Open History series addressing the urgent issues of our time from equality, diversity and inclusion, and social and environmental issues prevalent in society today. Darren has worked across exhibitions that have featured many of today’s leading artists, has toured major exhibitions for Tate Liverpool around the world, and has commissioned several new works. Most recently, his Radical Landscapes exhibition explores climate emergency, trespass and social and cultural change through a century of landscape art – an exhibition which shares Harewood’s values entirely.

With a history of collections care and producing exhibitions closely linked to Harewood’s programming ambitions, trustee of Harewood House Trust Iwona Blazwick OBE commented:

‘Pih’s deep engagement with modern and contemporary art will bring a dynamic new perspective to Harewood, connecting its distinguished history of arts patronage with the present. I can’t wait to see what his curatorial vision will contribute – not only to Harewood’s great legacy but the wider Yorkshire art scene’.

Since 2017, Harewood – which reached a record-breaking 250,000 visitors in 2021 – has been pushing the boundaries of its programming under the leadership of Jane Marriott, building on the Trust’s and the Lascelles’ commitment to acknowledging the estate’s colonial past for over 30 years, and exploring and provoking conversation around societal issues that affect us all. This commitment remains stronger than ever and is central to the Trust’s programming aims, the work of its staff and volunteers, and working with the communities in and around Leeds.

Trust Director Jane Marriott comments of Darren’s appointment:

‘I am delighted to welcome Darren as Harewood’s first Chief Curator and Artistic Director. This role epitomises our ambitions to reimagine the country house for the 21st century with bold, exciting and innovative programming. Darren brings a thoughtful approach and excellent track record, in combining the care of historic collections with the work of contemporary artists, in order to develop our ambitions as a charity and museum.’

Darren Pih’s first major exhibition under his curatorial lead will be Harewood’s second Craft Spotlight, to be announced later this year, and a Harewood ‘year of play’ to coincide with Leeds 2023 celebrations. On his appointment, he said:

‘I am delighted to be joining Harewood and contributing to its ambitions by leading its exhibitions programme. Harewood and its history make it a unique site for presenting art and ideas that engage with many of the most urgent issues of our time, including environmental responsibility, colonialism and social inclusion. It’s a fantastic opportunity to create new knowledge around its collections, by bringing contemporary and modern art into dialogue with the heritage and history of Harewood.’

Download the full press release including editor’s notes >> 

John Varley at Harewood House

John Varley (1778 – 1842) was a key figure in the history of the development of British watercolours. From 1800 he studied at Dr Monro’s Academy and made early sketching tours to Wales from 1798 – 1802.  He was initially strongly influenced by Thomas Girtin. A founder member of the Society of Watercolour Artists in London in 1804, he would go on to exhibit over 700 works there. As a teacher, he impacted the next generation of watercolourists, counting among his successful pupils David Cox, Copley Fielding, John Linnell,
Samuel Palmer and Peter de Wint.

Varley first came into contact with Edward, Viscount Lascelles, son of the first Earl of Harewood and an avid collector of watercolours, in 1801. Two years later, in 1803, he visited Yorkshire and painted a number of accomplished views of Harewood House and one of the Castle.  This group of works was an important early commission for Varley. The watercolours displayed on this wall – Harewood House from the North West and Harewood House from the South West – are of considerable scale and ambition. They give far more architectural detail than the earlier more famous works by J.M.W Turner, also commissioned by Edward Lascelles.  The smaller Harewood House from the South by Varley shows the house from a distance, set within the landscape with a felled tree and woodsman in the foreground.  Boldly painted, it is undoubtedly influenced by Turner’s Harewood House from the South East but the tones are paler (displayed on the central wall).

It was only natural that the romantic medieval ruined castle, dating back to 1366, would attract visiting artists and it was painted by Varley, as well as his predecessors Turner and Girtin.  In Varley’s work, the castle is distant, partially covered in foliage and the broad landscape and foreground figures dominate the composition (displayed above the fireplace).

A further watercolour of the ‘model’ village at Harewood is also attributed to Varley or his circle (displayed next to the fireplace). The village drew the attention of the pastel painter, John Russell, who visited in 1802 and noted that the buildings were all ‘of stone, with a regularity and neatness that I never saw exceeded with a wide main street’, before being escorted through the arch by the steward to visit the house itself. Edward, Viscount Lascelles, who died in 1814, also owned an early view of Snowdon by Varley, but does not seem to have patronised him later in his career.  Varley went on to write a number of important books on watercolour painting, including Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Design (1816 – 18), and invented his own range of colours. This fine group of watercolours illustrates a key early commission when the artist was still painting views of country houses before developing an accomplished landscape style influenced by the 17th century artist Claude Lorrain.

Harewood House Launches a Victorian Christmas

Victorian Christmas at Harewood

Harewood House is pleased to announce a special five-week Christmas season, A Victorian Christmas, which will see the house and grounds open during the festive period for the first time in five years. To celebrate the new series of ITV’s Victoria, which is filmed on location at Harewood House, the show’s award-winning creative director, Michael Howells, will create a magical Christmas experience giving visitors the opportunity to explore the house in full Victorian splendour.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Christmas was not regarded as a significant event. However, in 1848, the Illustrated London News published a drawing of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree. The trend was adopted by the British people and by the end of the nineteenth century Christmas in the UK had become the major annual celebration it is today, with trees, homemade decorations, Christmas cards and gifts.

In celebration of the Victorians’ love of Christmas, the event will give visitors an insight into the ways the Victorians created and informed the Christmas traditions we enjoy today, including Christmas dinner, carol singing, the Christmas tree and present giving. Storytelling will be at the heart of the event with inspiration being taken from Harewood’s own archives and collections.

Display highlights will include loans from Ilkley Toy Museum including Victorian board games, dolls houses, toy soldiers and rare dolls from the era. Additionally, visitors will have the rare opportunity of exploring the award-winning gardens, which although usually closed throughout the winter months, will be open until 3:30pm daily.

Harewood’s magnificent State Floor, which is one of the principal locations for Victoria, will be beautifully dressed with visually stunning Victorian decorations, while ‘below stairs’, in the kitchens, visitors will get a sense of the hustle and bustle of a stately country house, with a cornucopia of traditional Christmas foods being prepared.

As well as the festive dressing, visitors will be able to enjoy a series of events and activities including wreath making, twilight tours, floristry workshops and Fireside Father Christmas.

Jane Marriott, Director of Harewood House Trust said, “2017 has been a positive year for Harewood House Trust. We have had a fantastic response from visitors to our Victorian Harewood season so extending this into an immersive Christmas event is really exciting. We are thrilled to be opening the house for Christmas and to be working with Michael Howells on the project.”
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Michael Howells said, “I’m delighted to be working with Harewood House Trust for this event. Harewood has been an incredible place to work filming Victoria for the last two years and has provided us with some fantastic inspiration. It’s a special place, filled with history and wonderful stories to tell.”

Harewood Welcomes New Baby Donkey into the Fold

Baby donkey born at Harewood House in Yorkshire

Lady, Harewood’s female donkey, gave birth unaided last night to a new foal. The latest arrival is Lady’s first baby and both mum and baby are doing well.

The gestation period for donkeys is twelve months so when Lady arrived at Harewood in August 2016 she was already pregnant.

Nick Dowling, Bird Garden and Farm Experience Manager said: “We began to notice that Lady was widening a few months ago. At first we considered she may be gaining weight however it soon became evident that she was pregnant – much to our surprise!”

“We’re really pleased to have this latest addition in the Farm. Lady is doing all the right things and is showing signs of being a fantastic mother.”

“At the moment we are leaving mum and baby to bond. We suspect that the new baby is female although this is yet to be officially established. Once we confirm the sex, we will name the latest arrival.”

At birth, foals usually weigh between 19 and 30 lbs. (8.6 to 13.6 kg) and can stand and nurse after just 30 minutes. Harewood keepers are keeping a close eye on the new baby ensuring both Lady and the new addition are getting the best care around the clock.

Jane Marriott, Director of Harewood House Trust said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the new arrival to the Farm. Harewood House Trust relies on visitors and our members to support the work of the charity. We hope our latest addition will be a positive new attraction this summer.”

Visitors to Harewood will be able to see the newborn in the Farm this weekend.