Archive for the ‘Tatton Park’ Category

Tatton Park Biennial

August 30, 2010

Ice Table by Oona Grimes. Photo: Thierry Bal

I previously posted about the Japanese garden at Tatton Park, but this estate is also known for the Tatton Park Biennial, a showcase for contemporary art. It runs until 26 September this year.

A Confusion of Mirrors by Sophie Lascelles. Photo: Thierry Bal

The works have been created specially for display in the mansion, the garden and the deer park.

Hands and Sighs by Tony Grisoni. Photo: Thierry Bal

They include a group of works by Oona Grimes, Tony Grisoni and Sophie Lascelles about the life of Maurice, the fourth and last Lord Egerton, who left Tatton to the National Trust in 1958.

Maurice Egerton, fourth Baron Egerton (1874-1958)

Egerton was an enigmatic and very private man. He travelled widely and had a great interest in technology, dabbling in aviation and cinematography. Gatsby-like, he built a huge mansion full of gadgets on his Kenyan estate in 1938, to impress the woman he loved. When she spurned him he became even more eccentric, banning women from his presence altogether.

MAD (Maurice's Arctic Diary) by Oona Grimes

The works by Grimes, Grisoni and Lascelles are attempts to engage with the mysteries of Egerton’s character. 

Fire Table by Oona Grimes. Photo: Thierry Bal

Further information can be found on the Tatton Park Biennial website. In addition, an excellent new blog has sprung up about contemporary art projects at National Trust properties, called Trust New Art.

A Japanese garden in Cheshire

August 23, 2010

The Japanese garden at Tatton Park, with a ‘flying goose’ bridge crossing a stream near the tea house. The metal cranes, though Japanese, were particularly popular among westerners in the Edwardian era. ©NTPL/Stephen Robson

My recent attendance at the ‘eastern’-themed Ashridge Garden History Summer Course has inspired me to feature the Japanese garden at Tatton Park, Cheshire.

Cover of the guidebook to the Japan-British Exhibition. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The garden was inspired by the Japan-British exhibition held at White City in London in 1910. Japan was keen to emphasize its status as an emerging power, and the exhibition in London was partly intended to cement the strong commercial and military ties with Britain.

Miniature mountains, such as this snow-capped ‘Mt Fuji’, and stone lanterns were two more traditional Japanese design elements that were used more in the west than they would have been in Japan. ©NTPL/Stephen Robson

The exhibiton showed many aspects of Japanese manufacturing, society and culture, including gardens constructed with materials brought over for the occasion. This seems to have stimulated the creation of a number of relatively authentic Japanese gardens in Britain.

A pocket-handkerchief tree (Davidia Involucrata) in the Japanese garden at Tatton. ©NTPL/Stephen Robson

Following the exhibition Allan de Tatton Egerton, third Baron Egerton, commissioned his own Japanese garden and had a Japanese team brought over with plants and materials to construct it at Tatton.

The Shinto shrine seen from the tea house. ©NTPL/Stephen Robson

It includes a Shinto shrine and a tea house. Parts of the garden are based on the Japanese stroll garden, where the visitor is carefully guided past a variety of framed views.

The tea house. ©NTPL/Stephen Robson

The garden also contains elements of the traditonal Japanese tea garden, which is self-consciously ‘rustic’ and is designed to heighten the guest’s anticipation as he or she follows a convoluted route towards a tea pavilion.

©NTPL/Stephen Robson

Paths and bridges are deliberately designed to slow the visitor down and to create an awareness of one’s surroundings. The artifice in Japanese gardens is intended to bring out the essential nature of the plants and rocks – something reminiscent of the western concept of the ‘genius of the place’.

©NTPL/Stephen Robson

Tatton Park was bequeathed to the National Trust by the last Lord Egerton in 1958 and is managed by Cheshire East Council. The Japanese garden was restored in 2000-2001, once again with advice from Japanese experts.