Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Fascinating Exhibition To Show A Glimpse Behind The Scenes Of the Holkham Estate

Behind Closed Doors Exhibition at Holkham Hall
The exhibition, entitled ‘Behind Closed Doors: A Year in the Life of a Working Estate’, features the skilled work of renowned Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins who exhibits regularly worldwide.  The unique photographic record of the estate is the subject of Steele-Perkins’s tenth book, launched in November 2014 entitled ‘A Place in the Country’.

Over a period of 12 months Chris regularly visited Holkham. His captivating, behind-the-scenes style has produced a series of charismatic photographs. These range from informal photos of Viscount and Viscountess Coke with their young family, the gamekeepers on shoot days dressed in their famous bowler hats and the team of gardeners as they work throughout the seasons. The housekeeping team cleaning and caring for the many rooms and the colour and vibrancy portrayed in photographs of the seasonal functions and events are also portrayed.

A selection of key photographs will form the basis of the display and will provide visitors with a real glimpse behind the scenes of what goes into running a large estate in the 21st century. The exhibition will demonstrate that past and present can and do sit side-by-side.  For while Coke of Norfolk – famed for his part in the agricultural revolution – can look down on visitors from a magnificent painting by Gainsborough in one of the state rooms of the hall, outside his drive to improve agriculture continues with a large scale, modern farming operation using the latest machines and new techniques.

It will also show that while the historic fabric of the estate is carefully maintained, new diversification projects such as a hotel and a holiday park, are all part of the Holkham mix. Each generation has a responsibility to preserve and pass on the heritage of the estate. Equally it is important that they make their own mark with new ideas and new ways of running the extensive business which Holkham is today.

Lord Coke said: “We are essentially a very private family so it was a big step to invite someone in to be a part of life at Holkham for 12 months.  Holkham in this generation is a fascinating mix of business interests and custodian responsibilities.  We must develop new ideas and create new income streams while maintaining the great heritage we have at Holkham.  We also have a big responsibility to conserve the many aspects of the estate from conservation of wildlife and landscapes to caring for great works of art and historic furniture and furnishings. This can only be achieved through teamwork and we are fortunate to have such excellent teams looking after everything at Holkham.  We hope this new exhibition will provide a real insight into the life of our estate and the people behind it.”

The exhibition will be open to visitors during the opening hours for Holkham Hall which are 29th March - 31st October 2015 from 12noon-4pm on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays plus Good Friday and Easter Saturday (3rd & 4th April).

Full details of admission prices and other visitor information can be found on the website www.holkham.co.uk

For more information on all ten Treasure Houses of England, please visit the new website at www.treasurehouses.co.uk

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