Images (L to R): Hughbon Condor, One Love (image credit Tom Arber); Simon Costin, Day of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun (image credit Tom Arber).
Opening now. Harewood’s Festive Season 2022 kicks off with Long Live the Christmas Tree! – an exhibition which brings together new work by eleven designers, artists, creative studios, and makers to create traditionally untraditional Christmas trees. These new commissions take inspiration from Harewood’s history, surroundings, and environment to reflect the joy and warmth of the season.
Designed using a range of materials including paper, natural items from around Harewood and the wider Estate, and soundscapes, the exhibition showcases unique Christmas tree designs and commissions, bringing a contemporary festive twist to the State Floor. Long Live the Christmas Tree! at Harewood House features new work by artists and creative studios such as Swallows and Damsons who have designed a large-scale floral wreath sculpture, made using foliage sourced from Harewood’s Walled Garden and the wider Estate, which greets visitors on entry to the exhibition in the Entrance Hall of the House.
Throughout Harewood’s three libraries, Andy Singleton has created a decorative sculpted paper tree inspired by the decorative patterns in the House for the ceiling of the Spanish Library. In the Main Library, Ashley Karrell has produced a poetic film titled ‘Tales of the Winter Solstice’ which explores themes of the winter solstice through movement and spoken word. Phoebe McElhatton has created a playful plasterwork installation, responding to the Robert Adam design of the ceilings in the Old Library, with sculpted elements evoking celebrations and feasting.
The Yellow Drawing Room has been transformed by Matt Galvin of Galvin Brothers who has produced a playful, interactive seating installation using specially created vase elements which display winter florals and spruce. A touch of West Indian Carnival comes to the exhibition with a large-scale Christmas tree inspired by many different winter festivals and celebrations by Carnival costume designer Hughbon Condor in the State Dining Room.
Across in the China Room, Juli Bolaños-Durman has collaborated with joiner Jonny Taylor to create a tree using re-purposed glass bottles and recycled wood from the community. This is joined by Meriel Hunt’s ‘BeeTree’ in the State Bedroom which is inspired by the role of trees in supporting ecosystems. Meriel has created a tree for the exhibition as a celebration of the nature that surrounds us. Following the exhibition, the BeeTree will be placed into the wild at Harewood to encourage bees to use it as their home.
Jane Marriott, Trust Director at Harewood House comments:
‘Long Live the Christmas Tree! presents a unique version of the classic winter pine and spruce by 11 wonderful artists. Harewood’s ambition is to be bold in our approach to commissioning artists – to excite and inspire our visitors – so we are delighted with the diverse, unexpected, joyful, thoughtful, and creative installations across the House.’
Tickets for Long Live the Christmas Tree! and further events in the Festive Season 2022 programme are available at harewood.org.