The National Trust, Trelissick engaged in a series of creative programming and interpretation to improve the visitor experience resulting in an increase in visitor numbers.
Jane Pugh (former) Creative Programme Manager, at Trelissick explains the thinking behind this commission:
Christmas is a special time of year and, for some people, visiting their favourite National Trust property becomes part of their tradition so, it’s essential to offer an experience that is both different and recognisable. For seven Christmas trees, Alessandra created special fairies and Christmas decorations that told the life-stories of different people who’d lived at Trelissick.
They were exquisite!
Alessandra interprets stories, themes, history, culture, communities using visual and creative arts, talent, an enquiring mind and lots of empathy. She brings life to life!
Christmas 2017 at Trelissick House
I was part of how Trelissick House celebrated Christmas 2017 with large Christmas trees in every room. Trelissick is known for its decorated trees at Christmas and I was asked to celebrate the lives of some of the owners and individuals who lived in the house over the centuries.
Having done some research I came up with several characters whose story could be illustrated on a tree. As they were paying ‘Flying visits’ over the Christmas period they were given wings and installed at the top of each tree.
Rich and red decorated boxes with elegant golden ribbons hung on the branches. They told the story of the characters through the images. The figures originated from Naples in Italy and are traditionally used as figurines for the creation of Christmas cribs. Adapting the figures, I then worked with Erwin van Wanrooij to design the costumes and the objects to decorate the boxes.
- There was the maid who worked there in 1815, her cleaning tools, pots and pans, a feather duster, a carpet beater, clothes pegs, gloves, brushes, brooms and buckets.
- The rich owner Elizabeth Daniell with her 13 children represented by silhouetted portraits that would have been popular at the time.
- William Sangwin was head gardener at Trelissick in the 1890’s, so his images included garden tools, a scythe, a spade, a watering can, garden pots and plants.
- Images of a Packet ship, letters, palm trees, a telescope, a compass, rum barrels, and maps of the West Indies accompanied the !8 century adventurer Edward Lawrence.
- More down-to-earth agricultural tools, a plough and working horse described Dorothea & John who farmed at Trelissick in 1840.
- The last owner was Ida Copeland who inherited Trelissick in 1937 and owned it for two decades before donating it to the National Trust in 1955. She was a British Red Cross volunteer in the First World War, a great supporter of the Girl Guides and a Member of Parliament in 1931.
DATE: December 2017
CLIENT: NATIONAL TRUST