steveslack.co.uk

Baroque masterpiece promotes new thinking for National Trust

In Museum [Insider], Museums, new content on April 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Until about a week ago I hadn’t really heard of Seaton Deleval Hall, never mind knowing how to pronounce it! It’s another glorious architectural gem in Northumberland – one of the finest examples of the English Baroque. The country house and extensive grounds and parklands were saved for the nation a few years ago and have now passed into the hands of the National Trust.

There’s a new piece about the plans for the site on Museum [Insider]. What impressed me most about the project is the Trust’s recent, and ongoing, consultation with members of the public about what they’d like to see at Seaton. While parts of the hall will be displayed in the traditional National Trust style with historic rooms finely decorated with furniture and antiques – what I call ‘manor manner’ – some of the property is to be used in a different way.

The central hall at Seaton was ruined years ago by fire and is now a unique open space in the middle of the building complex. The idea is not to conserve the space back to how it looked in the 18th century, but to allow local artists and community groups to suggest what they might like to do in there. A music concert, an art exhibition, a meeting space. The Trust liken the project to the fourth plinth idea in Trafalgar Square where different artists are asked to respond to the space in different ways. Great thinking National Trust – we’ll look forward to finding out more about how the space is being used.

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