Tuesday, 29 September 2009
The Horse at Harewood art exhibition
'The Horse at Harewood' exhibition has been quite a journey of discovery for the curatorial team - although there have always been horses here, and we're all aware of their role in the history of the Estate and the Lascelles family - we've never before placed such a focus on this area of Harewood's history and the artworks arising from it. The works now on show in the Terrace Gallery were collected from all over the House, some had literally barely seen the light of day for decades, and most have never been seen publicly before. This posed quite a few challenges: some of the works needed conservation and most needed cleaning to remove varnish which has yellowed over the years. Most of all we needed to reconstruct the story of how and why these pictures, and the artists who painted them, came to be at Harewood. We know that the 6th Earl and HRH Princess Mary kept racehorses and even established a stud farm at Harewood, and of course we have photographs of some of their horses too. But there's a lot of work to do to identify individual horses, reconstruct their racing successes, and piece together the commissioning of the horse portraits now in the Collection. This exhibition is really the start of something, an investigation into part of Harewood's history, and it's a rich and exciting area to be working in. We hope to revisit this theme with another exhibition in a few years' time once we've pieced that story together, and had the necessary conservation work carried out, and we also intend to publish a book on the subject too.