Two thousand ticking clocks form art installation at Nostell to celebrate one of England’s greatest inventors

From Saturday 25 March, the last day of Greenwich Meridian Time before the clocks spring forward an hour, visitors to the National Trust’s Nostell in Yorkshire will be able to see – and hear – an extraordinary art installation celebrating one of England’s greatest inventors, John Harrison.

Harrison’s Garden by internationally renowned artist Luke Jerram has been inspired by clockmaker Harrison, who created the marine chronometer and was born at Nostell in 1693, the son of the estate carpenter.

The exhibition is a display of 2,000 working clocks that will take over an entire room on the ground floor of the 18th-century house from 25 March – 9 July. In a fitting celebration of this local boy, Harrison’s Garden includes 500 clocks that have been donated by Nostell’s community, its staff and volunteers to add to those gathered by the artist.

Harrison’s Garden by Luke Jerram, credit National Trust/Simon Dewhurst

With no formal education, Harrison spent his earlier years crafting clocks entirely from wood and Nostell is home to one of his only three surviving early wooden longcase clocks, created 300 years ago in 1717.

This significant piece of horological history is at the heart of a second exhibition, The Clock Stops, which opens alongside Harrison’s Garden at Nostell. Visitors will be able to view the original clock up-close, alongside a specially commissioned film about the clockmaker and a series of displays which celebrate his work.

Chris Blackburn, project curator said: “At Nostell we celebrate the work of ordinary people crafting the extraordinary. We’re very proud to look after one of John Harrison’s early handmade wooden clocks and we’re looking forward to telling his story through this fascinating contemporary installation.”

The clocks in Harrison’s Garden are clustered to form patterns and shapes along the floors and surfaces, with each one set to a different time so that visitors will hear a musical delight of ticking, clicking and chiming throughout the day.

John Harrison, credit National Trust/Simon Dewhurst

Just as Harrison’s creativity started to tick at Nostell and developed over his lifetime, the contemporary installation will grow in size as it tours three other National Trust places across the country from 2017 – 2018.

Following its debut at Nostell between March and July, Harrison’s Garden is set to appear at Castle Drogo in Devon, Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire and Penrhyn Castle in Wales, with each place asking their local communities to donate 500 additional clocks to this growing installation. Jerram, a creator of sculptures, installations and live arts projects across the globe, is excited to see Harrison’s Garden expand in size and sound as it spreads into these historic spaces.

Luke said: “For me, Harrison’s Garden is an imagined landscape; a garden of clocks. It is a glimpse of a surreal fictional world or perhaps an image from one of John Harrison’s dreams. Like a garden, the installation is a living and growing collection of different clock ‘species’.”

The clock at Nostell that was created 300 years ago by John Harrison, credit National Trust/Simon Dewhurst

 

The touring installation is a Trust New Art project, a programme that enriches experiences for regular visitors and attracts new audiences who may not have the opportunity to encounter world-class contemporary art where they live.

Grace Davies, the National Trust’s Contemporary Arts Programme Manager said: “We are very pleased not only to host, but also grow Harrison’s Garden, which will be a remarkable feast for the eyes and the ears, and so fitting to the birthplace of John Harrison, reminding us both literally and metaphorically of the passage of time. It is part of a season of inspirational work by artists that shines a new light on the places we look after, giving fresh perspectives that remain rooted in our rich and varied heritage.”

 

Fit for a King: return of Kedleston’s state bed marks the end of 30 year restoration project at 18th century treasure house

The return of a lavishly carved and decorated 18th century state bed to the National Trust’s Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire marks the final stage of an exciting 30 year restoration journey.

Simon McCormack, conservation manager at the National Trust’s Kedleston Hall, puts the finishing touches to the state bed which has returned following restoration. Credit National Trust Images/James Dobson.

The restoration of 11 rooms on the state floor of the historic Hall, designed by Neoclassical architect Robert Adam as a spectacular show house for his client Nathaniel Curzon, has involved countless skilled carvers, gilders, painters and conservators. Continue reading

Future of historic treasures now secure as National Trust opens doors to new conservation studio at Knole

  • The charity’s conservation specialists will work on precious paintings, furniture and decorative objects in front of visitors 
  • State of the art conservation studio is part of largest building and conservation  project in National Trust’s history 
  • Historic rooms at Knole re-open following work to transform the interiors and bring collections to life 
  • Supported by a major National Lottery grant of £7.75m

A new state of the art conservation studio has opened its doors for the first time at one of the country’s largest and most famous stately homes, securing the future of hundreds of historic objects for the nation. Continue reading

National Trust launches international design competition for Clandon Park

  • Initiative will bring new life to Clandon Park, the National Trust’s Grade I listed Palladian house, near Guildford in south-east England, which suffered a major fire in April 2015
  • High profile project to restore and reimagine this widely admired architectural masterwork has a £30m construction value
  • Architect-led teams asked to submit details of project understanding, proposed team and relevant experience at the competition’s first stage – deadline 21 April 2017
  • Five or more finalists who reach the second stage will create concept designs that integrate a sensitive restoration of some of the principal state rooms with new flexible spaces in the upper floors which encourage and inspire imaginative programming
  • Jury to be chaired by Sandy Nairne CBE FSA, National Trust Board of Trustees member, and former director of the National Portrait Gallery

South front and formal garden at Clandon Park, Surrey. The house was built between 1724 and 1729 and was designed by Giacomo Leoni.

The National Trust and Malcolm Reading Consultants today [9 March 2017] launched the global search for a world-class multidisciplinary design team to restore and reimagine Clandon Park, the Trust’s Grade l listed, 18th-century Palladian house, near Guildford, which suffered a major fire two years ago.

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Ahead of the curve: innovative 19th century curved glasshouse is restored to its former glory

A rare example of a 19th century curvilinear glasshouse has been restored at the National Trust’s Quarry Bank in Cheshire after a year-long restoration project.

The original Quarry Bank Glasshouse. Credit Quarry Bank Archive.

The 1820s glasshouse was built to supply the owners of Quarry Bank mill, the Greg family, with tender fruit of the time, such as grapes and peaches. Its innovative design and use of modern technology sent a clear message to guests about the Gregs’ financial success and position in society.

Although the conservation charity acquired the 18th century cotton mill in 1939, it was only in 2010 that the kitchen garden was acquired by the Trust. The jewel in the crown of this walled garden was the severely damaged curvilinear glasshouse, a name given to the structure because of its unique curved roof.

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New research lands Victorian fin whale discovery at Cotehele

A giant jawbone in a Cornish stately home has at last been found to be from a Victorian fin whale – thanks to a mixture of cutting edge DNA analysis and archival research.

cotehele-whale-bones-7-c-steven-haywood-national-trust-images

Acting house and collections manager Nick Stokes with the whale bones at Cotehele, Cornwall. (c) Steven Haywood / National Trust Images

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The National Trust names new Director of Curation and Experience

The National Trust has appointed John Orna-Ornstein as its first Director of Curation and Experience.

John will join the conservation charity from Arts Council England, where he has been the national Director of Museums and regional director for arts and culture in the East of England.

During that time, he has played a key role in funding, developing and advocating for England’s regional museums at a time of huge pressure on their public funding.

He spent his early career as a curator in the British Museum’s department of coins and medals, going on to lead the museum’s programme of national work and its community partnerships across London.

John will join the Trust in June and will lead the delivery of one of the charity’s key strategic aims – to provide experiences for its visitors that ‘move, teach and inspire’ across its many built and outdoor places.

He will have specific responsibility for leading the curatorial and visitor experience strategies at the Trust, which welcomed a record numbers of people to its houses, countryside and coastline last year.

Helen Ghosh, the Trust’s Director General, said: “John’s career is an impressive blend of curation, public engagement and arts experience, both at a hands-on and strategic level, making him the outstanding candidate for this key role.

“It’s an exciting time for John to be joining our charity. We’re doubling the number of curators we employ – from 36 to around 65 full time staff over the next two years.  These changes mean that the Trust is committed to investing more in curatorial excellence than at any time in its history.”

Commenting on his appointment, John said: “The National Trust cares for many of my favourite places as well as some extraordinary collections.

“I’m enormously excited to have the opportunity to work with the Trust in bringing those places and collections to life, and making sure they are relevant to the widest possible range of people across the UK.

“As I leave Arts Council England I’m proud of what it is achieving, and particularly of the new funding and support it is making available to museums. I’ll look forward to exploring new opportunities for the Trust to collaborate with artists, creative organisations and museums.”

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