Winter Light at Waddesdon14th November 2015 • Places to Visit • Stephanie Donaldson
Sometimes when I go to a far flung event I’m a bit like one of those gymkhana ponies that comes to a halt in front of one jump after another. Each change of transport has me tempted to bolt back to my stable and quietly munch some hay. Fortunately I stuck it out when I went to the preview of ‘Winter Light’ at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire and found my efforts rewarded in spectacular fashion. As we arrived, the late afternoon sun gilded the manor, but it was once that darkness fell that the magic began. The façade was bathed in vivid, ever-changing colours, while inside some of the rooms had been transformed into celebrations of light from various cultures and periods of history – as well as detours into Narnia and Peter Pan for the children.
It was once we went outside and followed a barely lit path into the gardens that the real excitement began. Rounding a corner we found ourselves walking between a double row of tents illuminated from within by throbbing and ever-changing colours, accompanied by what lighting artist, Bruce Munro, referred to as ‘the soundtrack of my life’. Much of it was the soundtrack of my life too, with snatches of familiar songs that were just getting to the point where I was tempted to start dancing when there would be a sudden change of mood to spoken word, ambient sound or classical music, all interspersed with the morse code for SOS which is the title of the installation. Bruce Munro was inspired to create this work by Shelterbox, the charity that provides tents and essential survival kit to people who have lost their homes through famine, war or natural disaster. It was a wonderful experience – I’m so glad it didn’t bolt for home. Times, dates and prices can be seen at www.waddesdon.org.uk