First built in 1690, Uppark sits in isolated splendour with uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside. In 1747 it was bought by Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh who, along with his wife Sarah, redecorated and renovated the house extensively and established most of the existing collections. Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh, their only son, inherited Uppark in 1774 and further contributed to his parents' collection by acquiring French furniture and ceramics.
Sir Harry spent his youthful years in wild carousing. He was a close friend of the Prince Regent and his entourage included Emma Hart (the future Lady Hamilton, best remembered as Lord Nelson's lover), who allegedly once danced naked on Uppark's dining table for Harry and his guests. Middle-age saw Sir Harry become something of a recluse, but in 1825 the then seventy-year old scandalized his social circles once again by marrying Mary Ann Bullock, his twenty-year old dairymaid.
In 1989, a disastrous fire destroyed much of the house and its contents. Following a massive programme of conservation and restoration, the house reopened in 1995, presented as it had looked the day before the fire.
For Unravelling Uppark, thirteen artists have been commissioned to respond to moments and events in the rich and complex histories of the house. Their work explores this site of personal and social transformation – from public displays of conspicuous consumption to the darker underbelly that supported it.
The exhibition opens to the public on Sunday 4 May 2014 and runs to Sunday 2 November 2014.
Information on how to get to Uppark and opening times click here