The Prince's Foundation has hosted a number of virtual events this autumn/winter, including the innovative Dumfries House 'Virtual Insights' series.
The aim of these virtual events was to entertain and thank our friends and supporters, as well as showcase and celebrate the talents and strengths of The Prince's Foundation's staff, ambassadors, collections, and the communities within which we work.
MAINTAINING A COUNTRY HOUSE COLLECTION
On 5 November, The Prince's Foundation hosted its first Dumfries House Virtual Insights event, 'Maintaining a Country House Collection'. This interactive Zoom presentation saw Dumfries House collections manager Satinder Kaur and independent antique furniture maintenance expert James Hardie offer an insight into preserving prized tapestries, ceramics and silverware as well as nourishing wood in furniture.
Although Dumfries House has been closed to public tours since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, maintenance of its beautiful interior and valued contents continues to take place. Therefore, when the house does reopen, visitors will, as always, be able to view an immaculately-maintained collection of furniture and objets d’art.
Watch an excerpt featuring Satinder's talk on maintaining the Blue Drawing Room's ceramics below.
RESTORING A COUNTRY HOUSE COLLECTION
On a similar theme, the second Dumfries House Virtual Insights event was called 'Restoring a Country House Collection' and took place on 19 November. This time Satinder Kaur told us the stories behind the restoration of some of the house’s prized pieces, including a 1770s harpsichord, a Murano chandelier found in a thousand pieces, and a reupholstered 18th-Century four-poster bed. Guests also learned about the solar system model The Grand Orrery, a partially-hidden Jacopo Bassano painting, and a lost decorative ceiling.
Watch Kenneth Dunsmuir play the newly-restored Dumfries House harpsichord (which also featured in the Foundation's virtual carol concert) in the video below.
PREPARING THE GARDEN FOR THE NEW YEAR
Our third Virtual Insights talk on 20 November featured the estate’s head of gardens Melissa Simpson talk about the work being undertaken at Dumfries House to prepare gardens for the new year.
She described the work behind planting thousands of bulbs, creating fertile compost, pruning roses, and thinning tree branches to help plants thrive underneath. As in the other talks, there was also a live Q&A at the end.
Here is a short clip of Melissa discussing bulbs:
On 15 December, The Prince's Foundation hosted its annual carol concert in collaboration with St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge. The concert featured a special message from HRH The Prince of Wales, President of The Prince’s Foundation, and readings by the charity’s Vice President, The Earl of Snowdon as well as television’s Sarah Beeny and actress Emilia Fox. Music was performed by the internationally renowned Choir of St Paul’s Knightsbridge, and pianist Kenneth Dunsmuir performed a score by Bach on an 18th-Century Kirkman harpsichord.
This year’s carol concert was supported by Ecclesiastical, a unique, charity-owned, specialist financial services group giving all surplus profits to good causes and working for the greater good of society.
Listen to the concert again on Tuesday 22 December at 8pm GMT, exclusively on Classic FM!
CHRISTMAS TEA DANCE
On 17 December Dumfries House was the venue for a very special festive tea dance organised in partnership with East Ayrshire Council's Vibrant Communities group via Facebook Live and Zoom. The tea dance was hosted by John Reid (as Elvis!) and Councillor Jim McMahon.
Participating care homes Crossgate and Torrence Lodge were treated to a plethora of performances and guest appearances.
Look out for an exclusive highlights video on The Prince's Foundation's Facebook Live, IGTV, and YouTube channels from 23 December!
THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS DINNER
The final Virtual Insights event also took place yesterday in the form of a festive-themed masterclass in how to prepare a perfect Christmas Dinner.
Dumfries House hospitality manager Evan Samson and head house butler Stuart Banks demonstrated how to best set your table for guests as well as achieve some “drama” with simple decorations and napkin-folding. From the kitchen of Dumfries House estate's Woodlands restaurant, head sous chef Kevin Usher showed attendees how to prepare three staple elements of Christmas Dinner: Brussels sprouts (roasted and creamed), haggis and sausage meat stuffing, and brine for your turkey that will produce a succulent and flavoursome meat.
THE PRINCE'S FOUNDATION WOULD LIKE TO THANKS ITS HUNDREDS OF VIRTUAL EVENT ATTENDEES FOR THEIR SUPPORT THIS AUTUMN.
Please note the Foundation will be closed between Monday 21 December 2020 and Friday 1 January 2021 (inclusive).