A year ago, I relied on ten lovely people to help me plan and execute Rapunzel - carrying army stretchers through Wentworth Castle Gardens, spending two hours getting the frames rigged up, and then either staying or returning to take everything down. I will truly be forever grateful to these people - you know who you are!
By comparison, last week, I briefly turned up at Wentworth to meet Mervyn, one of the volunteers. Together, we drove to the Rotunda, and once we'd got the locks open, it took us less than 15 minutes to rig up the frame of the chandelier. Then, yesterday, I dragged "the munchkin" and hubby to meet Pete from Wentworth Castle Gardens, at a leisurely 9.30am (unheard of!!) Together, we went out to the Rotunda. Pete returned to get a brush to clean the floor, and, by the time he had returned, we had most of the glasses rigged up already!
Due to one school dropping out, there were less glasses than anticipated, but the chandelier still looked lovely with the custom-forged ring made by Neil Gregory (of Wentworth Forge). The glasses were wired up with 0.4mm steel wire - plenty strong to hold an individual glass, but so thin that you had the impression the dangling glasses were held by the air alone.
The weather was less than perfect - in fact, had it been Rapunzel yesterday, we would have had to cancel, less because of near-freezing temperatures and constant drizzle, and more because of the constant, driving wind. However, this did not deter the general public, and I was truly touched by the number of people who had made a special effort to walk all the way through the parkland to see the chandelier, ranging in age from 8 months to 80 years. It is a fair track down, across open land, without protection from the wind!
With each folly, I try to have a theme, an overarching idea, which rings true with the folly itself. For Rapunzel, it was playfulness, since Stainborough Castle was originally planned and built as a (rather grand, admittedly) play-castle. For Lady Mary's portrait, it was perseverance, creating over 6,000 glass beads for a mosaic portrait of a very persistent lady, who fought to have the small pox vaccination introduced to this country. The Rotunda used to be a summer house, for entertaining, for people coming together. So the chandelier was intended in the same spirit, for the whole community working together, to paint the wine glasses in question, and then to return to admire their work - as well as the stunning views. So, with this folly, I would like to say "thank you" to the community - for painting the glasses, and for coming to see them, even if you didn't paint one! And, of course, as always, special thanks to Pete, Nigel and Toby (aka the munchkin, who took the first picture above).
The next folly at Wentworth will be the conservatory, in the autumn......watch this space!