National Trust meets Jarvis Cocker
I spent an enjoyable day at Kingston Lacy with the family Tweed. Nice landscaping and house. Like most National Trust properties, glorious for walking on crisp winter days, flask on hip. Slightly disappointed by the Trust gift shop though. I wish they could be a bit more imaginative and depend less on the kitsch and predictable. For a heritage organisation, it's a pity they can't look to support the small artisans up and down the country. Let's get some pottery from the Potteries in there, traditionally made objects, works by local artists. Highgrove, I think, does this better. More on them in another post.
Speak of heritageI think the Trust are trying a bit with the food. The cafe had local produce. I'd like to see the same in the shop. The visitors are there to appreciate the history and culture of their surroundings, the products in the shop should reflect that context, should speak of the heritage, but also champion the present. Is a visitor from China going to be impressed by a thimble made in China? They should show visitors from overseas that we can still make nice things - objects of beauty shouldn't just be on display in the grand houses, but also sold. Let us have a narrative of how the past has shaped the present and is being re-interpreted by the craftsmen of today. I believe the Trust had a trial of displaying wares from up-and-coming designers. A good idea. More surprises please, less tins of shortbread.
Collaboration with Jarvis CockerSpeaking of looking at new directions and ways of celebrating the heritage, their collaboration with Jarvis Cocker was a nice surprise.
You can download a collection of sound recordings he made at some of their sites for free
The sound is very evocative. None for Kingston Lacy, but maybe I'll make my own the next time I take a trip out there.