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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Rare find: family’s history found in donated books

Some months ago we were offered some books and records. We collected the donations and discovered a few very old and interesting books amongst them...

We always check through donations to see if anything is particularly collectable or valuable and were thrilled to find some books that dated back to 1821. On checking the internet, the titles did not seem hugely collectable, however, we were intrigued to notice that some of the earlier books had the former owner’s name inscribed “Augusta Leigh, St. James’ Palace”. We realised there must be a royal connection so began a little online research.

We learned that Augusta Leigh was the poet Lord Byron’s half-sister and that she was part of one of the most sensational scandals to hit Georgian England. She married Colonel George Leigh who as equerry to the Prince of Wales had cheated the Prince over the sale of a horse and fiddled his regimental expenses. He was subsequently dismissed and poor Augusta went on to endure a life of poverty. She later had an affair with her own half brother which was largely responsible for Byron’s separation from his wife before he departed British shores in 1816, never to return.

Augusta had seven children and one of the donated books ‘Trimmer’s Fabulous Histories’ is inscribed by Augusta to “Henry Francis Leigh from his dear Mamma on his birthday, January 28th 1828”

Henry Francis Leigh went on to marry Mary Maria Edgar with whom he had one daughter, Geraldine Amelia, born in 1845. Sadly, Henry died aged just 33, but Mary Maria remarried an Indian cotton merchant, James Landon in 1856 and had two more children, Letitia in 1857 and Herman in 1859.

The then ‘Mrs Landon’ inscribed her own books which include a very early ‘Beeton’s All About Cookery’, together with her own recipe for fruit buns!

We visited the donor and explained our findings. She had come by the books when she purchased a house where items of furniture including a large bookcase remained. She was delighted and gave us a further two tiny ‘Liliputian Library’ books which had been inscribed by all three of the children, dating back to1864.

Herman went on to become a Major-General in the British Army and married Christian Sharp in 1903.

It has been a thrilling exercise to learn so much about this family through their treasured books.

We consulted an expert seller who advised that the Lilliputian Library books are rare in such good condition. We eventually intend to put the collection as a whole up for sale but have decided to display them for the time being in the bookshop for everyone to enjoy.

We are always in need of books of every type – do please think of us if you are clearing any out – we would love to have them!

The Bookshop is open every day 11.00am to 3.00pm, whatever the weather, and our Book Club meets monthly, so please do pop in on your next visit!

Find out more about our Bookshop on our webpages...


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Simon Warner's Theatrical Tours go down a treat!

Simon in the guise of John Jewell
'I was held...!'
'The addition of the ghost was wonderfully atmospheric'
'We were lucky to see a Stag appear as if on cue too - it was brilliant!'

Some of the comments following artist Simon Warner's latest Theatrical Tour as part of on-going Medieval Harewood events this Summer...

Medieval Harewood Theatrical Tours

Simon Warner is a Yorkshire based photographer and performance artist. Simon will be conducting unique walking tours of Harewood’s medieval history enhanced with an audio experience, a real experience of Medieval Harewood!

Theatrical Tour dates: 17th July, 1st August, 14th August & 3rd September.

Medieval Harewood Theatrical TourThere's still time to book for Simon's last Theatrical Tour on 3rd September, book now to avoid disappointment!

Read more and book...

This summer, explore Medieval Harewood with us...

Find out more on our Medieval Harewood webpages...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Yorkshire Rose for Yorkshire Day!

The Yorkshire Post were here at Harewood today to photogrpah a new rose named 'Yorkshire Princess' in honour of HRH Princess Mary. Our Craft Gardener Helen Fletcher is shown with the rose in the Yorkshire Post piece (right).

We are introducing the new rose called 'Yorkshire Princess', dedicated to HRH the Princess Mary, Princess Royal, who lived here at Harewood for more than 30 years, to coincide with our Royal Harewood exhibition in this Diamond Jubilee year, .

Resembling an old-fashioned rose, this beautiful, but modest groundcover or patio rose, has a slight sweet scent, and is white with a delicate Orient Pink centre. Flowering throughout the summer, it is suitable for planting in rockeries, at the front of borders or alongside paths in cottage gardens, and will shortly be planted here at Harewood to commemorate the Princess's contribution to the Gardens.

Gardens - HRH Princess Mary on the TerraceTrevor Nicholson, Head Gardener at Harewood House, said: “Princess Mary was a very keen gardener and plantswoman who made a significant impact on the gardens here, introducing many elements of the gardens which our visitors still enjoy today. She was particularly fond of roses and so, to mark this year’s special ‘Royal Harewood’ exhibition, a rose was the ideal way to create a lasting tribute. The pure white petal, soft blush centre and sweet scent give a traditional feel, in-keeping with old-style roses and perfect for a Yorkshire Princess.”

Gardens - Rosa Yorkshire PrincessA limited number of Rosa ‘Yorkshire Princess’ will be available to purchase as a containerised shrub from the Harewood plant stall this summer, with new stock arriving in November 2013. You can register your interest by emailing us your contact details, and we'll send you an update when further stock becomes available.

Bred in Northern Ireland by Dickson Nurseries, it is currently available to pre-order online as a root for potting from their website for delivery in November 2012.

We'll be officially launching our new rose at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, staged at the Great Yorkshire Showground from 14-16 September, you can call the Ticket hotline on 01423 546157 or visit their website for more details of the show.

Our exhibition, Royal Harewood, celebrating the life of the Princess continues until the end of September.

Explore the gardens for yourself, from the breath-taking Terrace overlooking majestic 'Capability' Brown landscape, to the exotic plant hunters' paradise of the Himalayan Garden and the delightful lakeside and woodland paths to the Walled Garden...

Find out more about the Gardens at Harewood...


The details:

Rosa ‘Yorkshire Princess’ – parentage Nice ‘n’ Easy x Regensberg; breeder Colin Dickson, Dickson Nurseries, Co Down; patio/groundcover; hybridised in 2005; blooms in clusters, white with hint of Orient pink; slight sweet scent; height 66cm, spread 65cm; flowers continuously throughout the summer.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Harewood's new exhibition season launches with a Private View and Summer Party in Harewood Church, House and Grounds

Guests were met by the Earl and Countess of Harewood, and were invited to tour the new season exhibitions and artists' responses in the Church and Terrace Gallery launching a medieval journey of discovery at Harewood which seeks to explore the history of this ancient landscape before the present Harewood House was built...

The evening began with a tour of the Castle, followed by a Pimms reception in the Church to celebrate the completeion of the development project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Churches Conservation Trust.

New works by artists Susan Collins and Eleanor Moreton were on display.

The Church is a hub for Medieval Harewood with the new 'Medieval Harewood Information Point' located in the Church Vestry, and guests were keen to explore inside this hidden gem of a building!

Find out about the Church on our webpages...

Guests were then able to view the exhibitions in the House, with the Terrace Gallery playing host to an exhibition of finds from the recent Gawthorpe Hall excavation, as well as new works by artist Diane Howse.

The Gawthorpe excavation itself was open to view, and guests were treated to a hog roast and medieval-style entertainments on the Terrace overlooking the Gawthorpe Dig Site.

You can explore Medieval Harewood this Summer... Find out more on our Medieval Harewood webpages...

This season’s exhibitions can be found in the church, throughout the grounds and in the Terrace Gallery.

Artists Simon Warner, Susan Collins, Eleanor Moreton and Diane Howse have created artistic responses to medieval Harewood;Exhibitions - Medieval Harewood performance tours, moving image, paintings and photography bring stories alive to evoke Harewood's fascinating medieval past. In the Terrace Gallery you can also learn more about the newly excavated Gawthorpe Hall.

The Artists...

Diane Howse has responded to Medieval Harewood by photographing and digitally reconstructing the alabaster tombs of Harewood Church. The tombs would have originally been painted in full colour, and if you look closely at the effigies in the church, traces of original pigment can still be seen today. Diane has digitally recreated the colours that may have been used and her photographs give us a visual impression of the human beings that lived at Harewood.

Medieval Harewood Theatrical Tour
Simon Warner is a Yorkshire based photographer and performance artist. Simon will be conducting theatrical walking tours of Harewood’s medieval history enhanced with an audio experience. Tours will take place on Tues 17th July, Weds 1st August, Tues 14th August & Mon 3rd September.

Places must be pre-booked by phone, visit our event pages for details....
Medieval Harewood Exhibitions Susan Collins
Susan Collins is a film artist and is currently director of the Slade school of Fine Art, UCL. Susan has created a video intervention in the church as well as a moving photograph that can be viewed in full online. It can also be streamed on your smartphone to be viewed while experiencing Medieval Harewood.

Exhibitions - Medieval HarewoodEleanor Moreton has been inspired by the history of sisters Elizabeth and Sibyl de Aldeburgh who became joint heiresses of Harewood Castle in 1388. Her paintings respond to the relationships and power structures between families at Harewood in the medieval period as well as the illuminated prayer books, the Books of Hours, people owned at that time.
Images courtesy of the artists, and Ceri Hand Gallery for Eleanor Moreton.

Medieval Harewood is an on-going project to explore Harewood's medieval history before the present Harewood House was built. Join us on this journey of discovery as we peel back the layers of history, where a few short miles can cover several hundred years.

Find out more on our Medieval Harewood webpages...


Harewood Medieval Faire 2013 set to take place Late May Bank Holiday Weekend

Look out for details of next year's Harewood Medieval Faire which is scheduled for late May Bank Holiday 2013! 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

News from the Courtyard Shop

With its fresh make-over, new stock and designer interior, the shop isn’t about padded hangers and lavender bags.   Good on the eye, key brands are cleverly combined with local designers to give the shop a mix of must haves.  Gorgeous items include leading young artist Donna Wilson’s quirky creature furnishings, high quality meats farmed on the Harewood grounds, Sheffield based David Mellor’s exclusive tableware collection, sweet treats from Art of Mallows and Dixie Kitchen, and wine and beers, including Harewood’s very own Harewood Gold created from its home grown hops.  

The Courtyard shop is under the successful and experienced direction of shop manager, Lynne Melton-Long, who specialises in high-end retail.  Lynne has succeeded in giving the shop a new lease of life. “Our vision is one of excellence; we’re really excited to stock some of the country’s best homewares and confectionaries supporting local farmers and designers.  We want the shopping experience at Harewood to be good on the eye as well as the tummy.  I’ve worked hard to source designer brands from all over the UK, including renowned purveyors of cheese and chutney to Her Majesty Paxton & Whitfield (incidentally the only suppliers of UK made pickled onions), wines from Latitude Wines and gift items from master cutler David Mellor.  Local designer items include paperware from The Wit Shop from Hyde Park in Leeds, Catherine Lascelles’s meats from Gray Montagne and breads from Bondgate Bakery in Otley.  If we can support emerging designers and sell their wares alongside the big boys, then our customers can set their own style and really enjoy the shopping experience.” 

Lynne has a schedule of shopping events in the planning, with the first on 6th September with the Summer Night Market at the Courtyard, which includes live music, barbeque, wine and beer tastings, vintage clothing and loads more retail heaven.  

The refreshed and re-stocked Courtyard Shop is open 10am to 5.30pm 7 days a week and sells designer house and food items, much sourced locally for the freshest and the very best, and table and giftware items from the UK’s favourite designers and manufacturers, some of whom  rarely supply outside of London. Call in on your next visit!


Dining at its Finest at Harewood...

Harewood House and The Box Tree Join Forces for Michelin Star Fine Dining

Mike Schafer, Chief Executive of Harewood House, announced today that The Box Tree Restaurant will head up Harewood's 'Fine Dining in the House'. 
The Box Tree at Harewood Rena and Simon Gueller, who own and manage Box Tree Events were welcomed by David Lascelles, the Earl of Harewood and Mike Schafer, on the State Floor of Harewood House where they will provide a variety of fine dining options for private and corporate clients.
Mike Schafer, CEO said: ‘Our corporate hospitality is a major element within our offer and we only want to work with the best.  We have some of the finest architecture and interiors in the country and our hospitality needs to compliment our environment.  We are delighted to appoint Rena and Simon to manage our fine dining, and as a multi-award winning and Michelin Starred Restaurant, The Box Tree is held in the highest regard in the culinary world - their service, menus and wines are revered, not just regionally but also nationally.  Working with The Box Tree team means we are confident that every event at Harewood will be of the highest standard and we look forward to welcoming existing and new clients to Harewood for hospitality beyond all expectations.’
Menus for Harewood will be created by Simon Gueller of The Box Tree Restaurant, one of the country’s leading chefs and a Michelin Star winner for an unprecedented 8 consecutive years.
Simon’s menus for Harewood will combine French classics with modern English served within the grandeur of the State Floor, the unique Below Stairs and on the Terrace overlooking some of the finest views in Yorkshire.
Simon Gueller added: ‘Harewood and The Box Tree will be one of the UK’s premier destinations for superior hospitality.  Harewood hosts a variety of guests, from Monarchs to Heads of State and we will ensure that every client is treated as such.   Corporate clients expect the best at Harewood and we will work hard to ensure that every event, small or large, formal or informal, sets a benchmark in fine dining.’

Click here to read more about Fine Dining in the House at Harewood...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Harewood Champion Trees!

In the UK our wonderful tree heritage is recorded within the Tree Register, a Registered Charity with a unique database of over 150,000 of our most notable Trees.

Recording a veteran oak tree in the grounds of Harewood House
Harewood's trees are a beautiful and important feature of the landscape which surrounds the House. Following our latest Tree Register Report we can now say we are home to several Champion Trees!

We have a Grand Fir growing in the Lakeside Gardens (SE of the Cascade beside the path towards the Walled Garden) which has been recorded as the tallest in Yorkshire. It is the best the Tree Inspector has ever seen and looks as if it wants to grow a bit taller too!

We also have a rare Japanese oak (planted by Her Majesty Queen Alexandra on 8th July 1908) in the grounds; it is certainly a champion tree for Yorkshire and maybe a Champion Tree for the whole of the British Isles, we'll wait for final confirmation and update the post here!

Several other trees become County Champions for Yorkshire including:
  • Grecian Fir in the West Garden
  • Purple Bean Tree south of the Cascade, by the Stupa 
  • Katsura Tree in the Himalayan Garden
  • Leylandii south of the Lake, near the large Sessile Oak
  • Eucryphia in the Archery Border which is remarkably large for Yorkshire! 
  • Japanese Big-leaved Magnolia in the Himalayan Garden
  • London Plane in the Bird Garden 
  • Japanese Cherry beside the path to the Church
  • Scarlet Oak on the North Front opposite the House
  • Daimyo Oak on the North Front opposite the House
Please note: some trees pictured below are not in areas currently accessible to visitors. Please stay to the marked footpaths and access areas when you visit Harewood. 
Estimating the age of a large conifer
Gathering data for the tree register of two ancient oaks four to five centuries old
Measuring the girth of an old ash tree
Recording details of a veteran oak tree at Harewood
Using a hypsometer to measure the height of a tree
Please note: some trees pictured above are not in areas currently accessible to visitors. Please stay to the marked footpaths and access areas when you visit Harewood.

The Scarlet Oak on the North Front is exceeded only by a few in southern England, and the Dawn Redwood south of the lake is a particularly beautiful tree and almost the tallest this far north.

One of our Rhododendrons to the south of the lake is the largest hardy hybrid of any kind the Tree Register Inspector had ever seen!

Harewood is a wonderful place to explore the landscape and spot some of these wonderful trees... A new walks booklet is available from the Harewood Information Centre which will take you on 4 walks of discovery in the Grounds at Harewood...and we hope to produce something similar focussing on the trees at Harewood...watch this space for details!

You can collect a guide to some of the wonderful trees in the West Garden at Harewood during Autumn Glory week (October Half Term) - the trees are at their most colourful and vivid at this time of year...

Read more about the Grounds at Harewood and our Autumn Glory event on our website...