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National Trust's Ickworth showcases collections in a new light




A new exhibition at National Trust’s Ickworth is embracing the darkness created by a £5 million roof repair.

With scaffolding shrouding the property’s Rotunda during the Ickworth Uncovered project, the team has found a new way to shed light on its collection.

More than 2,500 collection items have been moved out of storage and some are on display with a rare silver mirror once owned by the Third Earl of Bristol.

Looking up into illuminated Rotunda dome and glass oculus ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf
Looking up into illuminated Rotunda dome and glass oculus ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf

Scaffolding structures will showcase treasures with theatrical lighting used to amplify including the Rotunda’s glass dome.

Ickworth has worked with design studio The Decorators and lighting designers Studio Dekka.

Xavi Llarch-Font, director of The Decorators, said: “Even if you are familiar with this extraordinary place, you will see things you have never noticed before.”

Lighting of Flaxman's The Fury of Athamas for Ickworth Uncovered ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf
Lighting of Flaxman's The Fury of Athamas for Ickworth Uncovered ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf

The new presentation inside the house follows an £85,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Chloe Woodrow, house and collections manager at Ickworth, said: “This installation will focus on one central idea, that Ickworth, with all its architectural and artistic treasures, is truly a home of great art, both past and present.

“As first the Fourth Earl of Bristol’s grand Palladian vision, and then the ongoing work of his son, the First Marquess, who finished construction of the building, this iconic structure of light and dark was always intended to display great works of art.”

Later this year Ickworth will display a newly commissioned artwork, created by internationally renowned artist Pablo Bronstein in collaboration with David Kohn Architects, to mark the conservation project.

Self Portrait by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun at Ickworth ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf
Self Portrait by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun at Ickworth ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf

The artwork was commissioned through the Trust New Art programme, which sees contemporary art opportunities brought to National Trust locations across the country and follows a £30,000 grant from Arts Council England.

Ickworth Uncovered is the biggest investment the National Trust has ever made at the property, in Horringer, and will see the Rotunda roof re-tiled by a team of craftsmen whilst work on the east link roof will prevent rainwater leaking in.

The project also includes lightning protection to the roof and reinforcement of the underground vaults.

Preparing a chinoiserie cabinet for display ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf
Preparing a chinoiserie cabinet for display ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf

Work to the vaults was made possible after a £50,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation.

The conservation work is due to be completed this summer and the new internal experience will be unveiled to visitors for the first time tomorrow (January 18).

Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth

Face to face with marble bust head of the Farnese Hercules at Ickworth Uncovered ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf
Face to face with marble bust head of the Farnese Hercules at Ickworth Uncovered ©National Trust. Picture: Jim Woolf

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