Hare with Amber Eyes author exhibits 1000 porcelain pots
Edmund De Waal, ceramicist and author of the international best selling memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes, has produced well over a thousand porcelain pots for a new exhibition at Waddesdon, the former home of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.
“Waddesdon is a fabulous faux-French château in the middle of Buckinghamshire; it is full of Sèvres porcelain and gilt furniture and extraordinary art…I am making a series of vitrines of porcelain to put alongside all these. It is my take on family and display, I intend it to be really beautiful and for it to be a way of thinking through, in visual terms, some of the ideas on belonging that drift through my book The Hare with Amber Eyes”. (Edmund de Waal 2011)
A past winner of the Costa Award for Biography, The Hare with Amber Eyes explores de Waal’s family history through his inheritance of 264 Japanese netsuke from his uncle Iggie. His ancestors, The Ephrussis, were one of Europe’s richest Jewish banking dynasties and so have much in common with the Rothschilds, in fact they moved in the same circles and even inter-married. The book and the exhibition can be seen to echo each other. “It would be mawkish to say it is the exhibition of the book,” said De Waal. “But it is the exhibition I could only do because I had written the book.”
The house was built from 1874 by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to flaunt and display his vast collection of French furniture, European ceramics, French tapestries, Dutch old masters and English portraits. Bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957, it is now one of its most visited historic houses. The collection continues to grow through the patronage of Rothschild family trusts and now includes contemporary sculpture by Stephen Cox, Angus Fairhurst, Sarah Lucas and Richard Long which can be seen in the garden.
The exhibition, which runs from 20 April until 28 October 2012, comprises installations of porcelain by Edmund de Waal and inspired by the Manor, its collections and its Rothschild heritage. The porcelain vases include single pieces, groups of objects and garnitures and are installed throughout the ground floor in the principle reception rooms: the Breakfast Room, Dining Room, Red and Grey Drawing Rooms, Morning Room and Tower Drawing Room.