Electric Art at Cragside

I was recently contacted, via the ‘Share your Stories’ section of the website, by Irene Brown, an artist who in 2013 made an art installation for Cragside called ‘Fulmination’. The installation was part of the Building Dreams exhibition, which marked the 150th anniversary of the house, and comprised a video of Cragside projected within a large glass chemistry flask, as you can see from the picture.

Irene says:

“A dramatic thunderstorm crashes repeatedly, flashes of lightning illuminating a tempestuous landscape where Cragside House appears held, fully three dimensional within the centre of the glass sphere. The piece provokes evocative associations between powerful natural forces and Armstrong’s harnessing of the elements to create hydroelectricity. The atmosphere in the room reflects the dangerous and magical potential of early experiments with electricity.”

For more pictures of this and other similar works by Irene, please visit her website, where you can also see the video used in the ‘Fulmination’ installation.

Share your stories

Guides and volunteers at country houses are often invaluable sources of stories about the history of the houses they work in, stories which they themselves bring to the property from their own memories, or from memories passed down to them from older relatives. As part of this project, we are keen to engage with people who have their own stories to tell about the history of electricity in country houses.

We encourage anyone who may have something to contribute – in particular country house volunteers and visitors – to head over to our ‘Share your Stories’ page and fill in the contact form to get in touch with us. We’d love to read memories, anecdotes and stories about how electricity was used, by whom, and what they thought of it. We may then ask if we can use your story in a blog post, or if you might want to write a guest blog post yourself. In some cases it might be interesting to arrange interviews to gather oral histories.

We’d be particularly interested to learn things related to the electrification of our three partner houses, Cragside, Lotherton Hall and Standen, but stories or memories related to other country houses would also be welcome. It doesn’t even need to be a country home; perhaps you have some old electrical equipment or systems in your period house or flat?

If you have something to share with us which might help to make our resources and our project more comprehensive, please do get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!