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Kate Lycett: Lost Houses of the South PenninesThe Yorkshire Post highlights the Brontë connection:
23 Jan 2016 (All day) to 9 Apr 2016 (All day)
Bankfield Museum, Halifax
Local artist Kate Lycett brings us a new exhibition of artworks exploring Lost Houses of the region. Drawing upon plans, photographs and written accounts, as well as the sites themselves, Kate hopes to recreate some of the lost houses of the South Pennines, including Castle Carr, New Cragg Hall and High Sunderland.
Kate will be in the exhibition space and happy to meet visitors on the 23rd January all day, and in the mornings of Saturday 6th February and Saturday 12th March.
You can join Kate for an artistic workshop on Saturday 12th March for adults or Saturday 19th March for young people.
Kate's paintings will all be for sale by sealed bids taken from Saturday 23rd January until the end of February, when the highest bidders will be contacted. There will also be limited edition prints and cards for sale from the 23rd January.
Reimagining the lost houses of the South Pennines in her trademark rainbow of rich colours, gold leaf and shimmering threads was always going to be a big adventure for artist Kate Lycett. What she didn’t anticipate was the thousands of hours of research involved in bringing the properties back to life. Or that she would uncover scandals, secrets, the supernatural and a Brontë mystery.Pictures of these remnants, including some shameless little boys can be seen on this entry on Kate Lycett's website.
The whereabouts of a gateway, said to have inspired the first chapter of Wuthering Heights, is something Kate would dearly like to find. It belonged to High Sunderland Hall, a vast, gothic property near Halifax, built in the late 1500s and demolished in 1951.
Emily Brontë often walked past it when she worked at Southowram school in the early 1800s. Carvings of grotesque figures, griffins and wicked faces decorated the frontage. It must have fired Emily’s imagination as she is said to have combined the architecture of High Sunderland with the wild, remote location of Top Withins above Haworth.
The first description of it in the novel reads: “Before passing the threshold I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front and especially about the principal door, above which, among the wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date 1500.”
High Sunderland’s ghost story is also reminiscent of Heathcliff’s feverish dreams of Cathy. The hall was said to be haunted by a woman whose husband had cut off her hand in a jealous rage.
While pouring over old reports of the property’s demolition due to subsidence, Kate discovered that its famous gateway was bought by a man who planned to rebuild it in the garden of his home in Brighouse. “I would love to know whether it was ever rebuilt and if it still exists,” says Kate, who found other parts of High Sunderland lying in a pile at Shibden Hall, near Halifax. (Sharon Dale)