First Wee Slice of Attingham

The whole group at Flintham Hall, Nottinghamshire

27 Country Houses.

18 days.

48 classmates from around the world.

2,382 photos.

928 sheep.

1 of the best desserts I have ever had the pleasure of eating:

I am still processing all that I observed and learned while at Attingham.  I’m not sure if I could have had a better experience, and the reverberations of lessons learned will resurface here in many future posts. Those lessons will certainly reflect in my work here at the Hermitage as we move into a year of exponential growth and redevelopment. I hit the ground running (well, limping a bit) and plans for the upstairs painting gallery are moving apace.

I’ve enjoyed watching my fellow classmates struggle for words to describe our three weeks together as it makes me feel less of a failure. Attingham was phenomenal. It was so unlike anything I’ve ever done that my attempts to explain my experience always seem to fall short. Each day was a walking dream — an occasionally difficult walking dream that sometimes left me feeling so tired I thought I might fall asleep with my head in the soup — but a dream nonetheless. A classmate of mine snapped this photo during one such moment of total saturation:

The most notable advantage the program provided was unparalleled access to some of the finest (and otherwise strictly private) houses ever built in England. We were often invited to wander unhindered through the storied spaces, snapping photos and even rolling around on the floor if the urge struck. The food ranged from delicious to offal (pun!) and the people were some of the loveliest traveling companions I’ve ever had. There’s something to be said for a group that is just as keen as you are to flop down on the floor and examine the underside of each pier table along the way.

If you are dying to spend an hour or so thumbing through thousands of photos, by all means click here to view my Flickr set. Fair warning: many of my photos were taken for reference. Please ignore the weird snaps of text panels and other exhibit-design related images.  Also, there are some photos of the final night’s costume party. Yes, those are an enormous pair of antlers on my head and yes! they are made of newspaper. I would be delighted to fashion you a pair of your very own. If you can figure out my costume I will send you a prize!

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