A chance to visit two of Yorkshire’s most interesting historic properties was provided to GTO’s Editorial Director, Peter Stonham, last month.
Both are most impressive places, though quite different. The first visit was to the stunning Harewood House, set in the beautiful West Yorkshire countryside north of Leeds. The event was the Harewood Summer Party and also celebrated the launch of two new works by famous sculptor Antony Gormley. On a delightful late summer evening, the rich interior with its magnificent furnishings was picked out by the setting sun and was a reminder of the benefits of an out-of-hours visit. An additional pleasure was to see the special exhibition put together to celebrate the multi-faceted life of George Lascelles, the seventh Earl of Harewood, who sadly died in July.
Our second visit was to Fairfax House in York, a fine city property, which was rescued from decay in the 1980s and is now one of the best preserved examples of a Georgian townhouse in England. As well as the delightfully furnished rooms that illustrate the life of the house as it was, there is an exhibition space, which currently holds an impressively curated collection of clothing from the Jane Austen period entitled ‘Revolutionary Fashion’, which provides an insight into elements of dress that were significant steps forward for the time including corsetry and grandly-styled empire dresses for women, and dandyish waistcoats and shoes for men.
Both of the properties are really worth a visit, particularly enhanched by the excellent specialist guide facilities available to groups. A special chance to visit Harewood House is on offer to GTOs in February when the house is the venue for the second GTO-organised Tourism & Events Showcase.