Harewood House Trust presents Christmas 2024: ‘Mischief at the Mansion’

‘Mischief at the Mansion’ is a magical festive world of light shows, surprises and cheekiness, bringing the stories of Harewood House to life  

This Christmas at Harewood there is mischief afoot, with decorative angels coming to life, escaping from the Music Room’s Christmas tree and popping up unexpectedly throughout the House. Cakes in the Servants’ Hall banter gleefully about their beauty pageant bake-off, and Queen Victoria’s bust reminisces about her time at Harewood.

These are part of a magical makeover by the internationally celebrated artists Studio McGuire. Revealing Harewood’s history and mysteries, Studio McGuire uses lighting projection, storytelling and music to bring unforgettable cheeky characters, objects and artworks to life. Commissioned by Harewood House Trust, Christmas includes an immersive Father Christmas experience and glittering Christmas shop.

Photograph by Charlotte Graham.

For ‘Mischief at the Mansion‘, Studio McGuire worked with Curator Rebecca Burton to research and uncover more anecdotes about the House and its people throughout its 250-year history. Scriptwriter Christina Lewis then developed the characters and scripts, adding a new layer to the festive visitor’s experience of Harewood House.

In the Dining Room, the plates of the lavish table setting reminisce about Christmases past, recalling when Mary Berry came to visit. Filling the Cinnamon Room is a series of still-life projection paintings that will bloom and flower in time lapse. 

A multitude of escaped angels pop up to see the installations in many of the rooms, adding to the fun for younger visitors to spot the naughty angels. The State Bedroom features a sleeping princess, and in the Servants’ Hall, a feast of homemade cakes comes to life with projected characters chatting about their big bake-off beauty pageant. 

Visitors to the Yellow Room enjoying the ceiling light show. Photograph by Tom Arber

The popular ceiling projection from 2019 is coming back to the Yellow Drawing Room. Comfy cushions and throws provide an unusual opportunity to lie down in a country mansion and watch the light show above. Not to be missed is the quirky conversation between the busts of Queen Victoria and Prime Minister George Canning. Projected with their faces, the busts reveal fascinating stories including how Queen Victoria slept in the State Bedroom as a young princess. 

This year, Father Christmas at Harewood House will be a magical experience for groups and families. Taking place in the Old Library, Princess Mary’s Dressing Room and China Room, this is an immersive, mini-theatrical production.

Rachel Crewes, Chief Executive Officer, Harewood House Trust: “It is with great delight we can announce this year’s wonderfully inventive and charming Christmas events at Harewood. We are lucky to be working with the hugely successful artists Davy and Kristin McGuire from Studio McGuire, who return to Harewood with their astonishing technical wizardry. Their installations are much loved, and everyone adores the objects and history of the House being brought to life. Christmas at Harewood is very special and we can’t wait to welcome and entertain our visitors of all ages with magical artworks, our cafe and gift shop and of course – our enchanting Father Christmas experience.”  

Studio McGuire. Photograph by Charlotte Graham.

Mischief at the Mansion is at Harewood from Friday 15 November to 5 January 2025. Admission to ‘Mischief at the Mansion’ includes access to Harewood House, Gardens and Grounds. 

The Artisan Winter Market runs from 7-10 November. Father Christmas requires separate tickets and pre-booking is essential. For more information and tickets visit harewood.org.  

Main image: Tom Arber 2019.

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