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Bruce Munro to install two dramatic works at Waddesdon Manor
Blue Moon on a Platter at Waddesdon. Photo by Ian Ellerby © The National Trust. Waddesdon.

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE.- 2013 sees a celebration of interior and landscape design at Waddesdon Manor, with displays that range from the ultimate in linen table decoration to dazzling light art in the grounds.

The installations begin this Christmas 2012 with two dramatic works by light artist Bruce Munro. Munro first came to prominence with Field of Light at The Holburne Museum in 2011, over 5,000 bulbs woven together with fibre optic cables that lay dormant during the day, coming to life at night, like a vast shimmering field of blossoms. At Waddesdon his works will have impact by day and by night. Blue Moon on a Platter will be made of thousands of used CDs pinned to the undulating banks of Waddesdon’s amphitheatre, which measures 28 meters across. In the centre, a 1.5m ‘Moon’ of optic fibres will glow with blue light, while Angel of Light will spread its ‘wings’ across the front lawn, a scintillating spectacle made up of 50,000 CDs that will light up the approach to Waddesdon.

Munro will then install Cantus Arcticus in the Coach House as Waddesdon’s main contemporary exhibition for 2013. Inspired by a piece of music of the same name by Finish composer Rautavaara, Cantus Arcticus takes the form of 15 abstract bird forms that occupy the Coach House floor. Light will cascade from channels directly above each piece, casting soft pools that change colour to respond to Rautavaara’s music, which will be playing in the space.

The year will end with a grand finale of four newly commissioned Munro works that will bring Waddesdon’s grounds to life in a magnificent explosion of light and colour.

Inside the Manor, Sacred Stitches will reveal an intriguing and little-seen, collection of medieval and later embroideries and textiles made for use in the cathedrals, churches and monasteries of Europe. These were the particular interest of Baron Ferdinand (1839-1898), his sister Miss Alice (1847-1922) and their niece, Baroness Edmond de Rothschild (1853-1935) who appropriated and transformed them into unique interior furnishings. Perhaps most curious are the collection of robes made for small statues of saints displayed in churches that belonged to Baroness Edmond. The exhibition will examine techniques, original uses and the transformation of the textiles once they entered Rothschild collections. Research for the display will shed light on the former decor of the Bachelors’ Wing, since most of the hangings and the textile-covered furniture have been removed for conservation reasons, and illuminate Alice’s decorative schemes at the Pavilion, still the private family home.

Finally, the remarkable talent of Joan Sallas will take us back to a time when table presentation was a true art form. Waddesdon’s Dining Room will become the setting for historic reconstructions of intricately folded linen napkins that would have been used to decorate sumptuous banquets and Sallas will also make some more contemporary pieces to show how the art has evolved.

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