Harewood House in Yorkshire is one of England’s finest Treasure Houses. Built in the 1700s by Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron of Harewood, designed by Robert Adam and landscaped by Capability Brown, it boasts the finest collection of Chippendale furniture in the world. More than just a visitor attraction, this Palladian masterpiece is now run as a museum dedicated to fine art.
The current 8th Earl of Harewood, David Lascelles, and his family sit on the board of the charitable trust, and this Christmas their team have ambitious plans to transform all the grand state rooms with installations from 11 cutting-edge artists.
Long Live the Christmas Tree showcases each artist’s interpretation of winter festivities. The exhibition embraces the modern and combines a diversity of cultures and local craftsmanship – but this contemporary take on a stately home is driven by a challenging historical legacy.
The house was built upon vast profits made from family sugar plantations in the West Indies. Although associations with slavery run through many British institutions, Harewood has been one of the first to not only own up to this difficult issue, but also own it. By recognising the debt owed to Caribbean culture in the past, the Lascelles hope to mitigate the future by encouraging a renaissance of modern, diverse artists to both exhibit and visit Harewood.
We follow a hectic and eclectic two-week festive installation, where staff, family and 11 very different artists pull together to create a stately Christmas experience like no other… but will it be what their 40,000 loyal visitors are expecting?
Christmas at Harewood House
Friday at 8.00pm on Channel 4.
Image: Tom Arber.
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