A Medieval Summer at Harewood: Summer Exhibitions and more from August to October 2012

Harewood house
Harewood house

Medieval Harewood continues this summer with an exploration of the medieval history of Harewood encompassing the Church, Castle, Grounds, Gawthorpe Excavation and Terrace Gallery in the House.

A clever mix of the creative, visual, contemporary and historical, displays combine archaeological finds, with artistic responses, plus workshops, events and activities, that lead you on a path to discover Harewood’s medieval past – a legacy that is revealed through cleverly devised strands which draw us into this history.

One of these strands is the recently revealed Harewood Castle, the Grade I listed 14th century ruin, as such since the mid 17th century, which has now undergone major conservation. Recently opened, it encourages visitors to find out more about the history of Harewood and its landscape, and is open for accompanied group visits on selected dates this season. It provides an experience of Medieval Harewood which begins our exploration of Harewood’s ancient landscape, which has been occupied since pre-history.

The recent excavation of the Gawthorpe Hall site in partnership with the University of York uncovers the story of the lost medieval manor house which preceded Harewood House. Finds from Gawthorpe Hall, are available for visitors to see in the Terrace Gallery and include a wonderful stone gargoyle, a delicate silver-heart ring, a Bronze Age arrowhead, porcelain, pottery, buttons and unbelievably dainty thimble and dressmaking pins – a glorious combination of everyday and privilege.

With the addition of architectural fragments and the original 1698 plan of the Harewood estate and sections reproduced from 18th century illustrations of the hall, visitors can build a picture, marvel at medieval craftsmanship and wonder at the stories behind the finds.

All Saints’ Church, located within the grounds at Harewood, acts as a hub for the strands and mixes the contemporary with the historical by showing a new digital fly-over of the medieval landscape and a useful Information Point. Artists Eleanor Moreton, Susan Collins, Simon Warner and Diane Howse have provided their responses to the medieval history of Harewood, with new pieces of work including digital photography, painting and moving imagery exhibited in this medieval church and also in the renowned Terrace Gallery, situated Below Stairs in the House. It’s not just about the tangible, the exhibition crosses all media with performance art playing a role with Simon Warner’s intrepid character ‘walking tours’ to the Castle and hidden areas of the grounds not usually accessible to visitors.

Medieval Harewood also offers a series of workshops, activities and tours. Visitors can learn the basics of making traditional ceramics with a Traditional Ceramics Workshop (23rd Sept) and a Stained Glass Workshop (21st Oct) to discover the art of stained glass making.

A ‘Medieval Summer’ at Harewood provides multi-faceted opportunities for visitors of all ages and interests to enjoy what Harewood has to offer. It works well for art lovers, history buffs, and those looking for something to appeal to all the family during fine or wet weather. Harewood celebrates its past with an eye on the future and, combining these elements within this exhibition spread across the House, gardens and grounds, is just what it does best.