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Felbrigg Hall hosts the most curious of art installations

PUBLISHED: 16:31 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:31 02 May 2018

Felbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg.Pictured is Gary McCann installing the cabinets.
Photo: Paul Bailey

Felbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg.Pictured is Gary McCann installing the cabinets. Photo: Paul Bailey

© Paul Bailey

Visitors to north Norfolk’s Felbrigg Hall will find some rather curious new additions to the historic home. Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more

Felbrigg Hall. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYFelbrigg Hall. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Four intriguing new installations have sprung up at north Norfolk’s Felbrigg Hall, each of them putting a spotlight on an array of weird and wonderful items from the historic home’s collections.

The mysterious new additions to Felbrigg Hall’s displays have been designed by opera and theatre designer Gary McCann, and they take their inspiration from the Renaissance idea of cabinets of curiosity.

Each of the eccentric pieces of furniture are inspired by the history of the hall, and they invite visitors to peer inside and discover some of the extraordinary and unique items that caught the eyes of Felbrigg’s residents from centuries past while they were on their exotic travels.

From a brass Egyptian obelisk to a coffin bell, many of the objects have travelled from the far corners of the world to Felbrigg and are souvenirs of the Grand Tours undertaken by Felbrigg’s residents.

Felbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg.
Photo: Paul BaileyFelbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg. Photo: Paul Bailey

A chocolate box in the form of a harp, fossils, porcelain figures and a cat collar featuring the name Tibs are among the items visitors can find.

And while mystery surrounds most of the stories behind the objects, perhaps that is also part of their charm.

“It was thrilling to be given the opportunity to explore the cellars, attics and store cupboards of the hall and discover the fascinating relics of the people who have lived and worked here,” said Gary McCann.

“I wanted to share with visitors this sense of exploration and offer them the chance to take part in their own Grand Tour as they move from room to room.”

Felbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg.
Photo: Paul Bailey/National TrustFelbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg. Photo: Paul Bailey/National Trust

Mellissa Tadd, Felbrigg Hall’s house manager, added: “Each cabinet sits harmoniously within its space, allowing the onlooker to discover small objects that under normal circumstances could easily be overlooked, but in these curious cabinets they have been housed in a way that amplifies their uniqueness.

“Full of creative riddles and symbols, they provide a new way to interpret the collection.”

The project is part of Trust New Art, a contemporary arts programme inspired by National Trust places and supported by a partnership with Arts Council England.

The installations will be on show in Felbrigg Hall’s service wing throughout 2018.

Felbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg.
Photo: Paul Bailey/National TrustFelbrigg Hall's Curious Cabinet installations showcase weird and wonderful items from the extensive collection at Felbrigg. Photo: Paul Bailey/National Trust

For more information about visiting the hall, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk


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