Lighting up time at manor wonderland

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Waddesdon Manor has re-opened its doors for the winter season and the rooms are a wonderland of magical decorations and trees, writes Heather Jan Brunt.

With a theme of Lights and Legends reflecting stories, myths and rituals from around the world, the house is filled with light of all kinds, including for the first time, an indoor installation from artist Bruce Munro.

Launch of the Waddesdon Manor Christmas season PNL-141211-212737009

Launch of the Waddesdon Manor Christmas season PNL-141211-212737009

On arrival at the manor, visitors are greeted with a magnificent wreath on the front door, created by the florists who work on the estate, that includes the Rothschild five arrows in its design.

Moving into the entrance, the first Christmas tree to be seen is entwined with roped light effects wound with driftwood from the banks of the Thames. Other trees have themes including one with 100 lanterns on it, and another decorated with white candles.

In the Bachelor’s Wing, visitors are allowed into the smoking room, and in the billiard room there are two huge trees plus a display representing the Diwali festival of lights.

Bruce Munro is now in the second year of a three year residency at the manor, and this year he has created a special piece of work for inside the house in addition to several pieces in the grounds.

Snow Code is set up in the White Room of the manor and, mindful of the season, Munro chose to base this piece on his minds-eye vision of gently falling snow-coded words.

Inuit descriptions of the word snow have been transcribed into Morse-coded flecks in an explorationof language, graphics and light.

Outside, in the grounds, are sevenfurther light installations, four of which were specifically conceived for Waddesdon.

It was while living in Australia that Munro’s interest in light was born, but he only started to experiment with it more formally as an artistic medium when he returned to the UK.

He first came to public attention in 2004 with his work Field of Light, and is now regarded as one of the leading artists working with light.

The installations at Waddesdon include a version of his iconic artwork Field of Light re-created in the circular rose garden.

This installation is a reflection of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, as the swaying spheres and stems sway gently representing a field of poppies.

Winter opening of the manor continues until January 4 from 11am to 4pm Wednesdays to Sundays .

There are additional opening dates in December and later opening on some nights from November 28. Entrance to the garden is also later.

For more information, see www.waddesdon.org.uk