Civilisations Festival Display - From Horse Hoof to Inkwell
28th February - 1st June - 10am - 5pm - FREE
The BBC television programme, Civilisation, broadcast by Kenneth Clark, aired in 1968, was a defining moment for the arts. It gave a unique, intellectual but accessible look at the history of art and how it has affected our society, and for that has been widely praised. It made us think about what we mean by civilisation, and what is the kind of art that we identify as representing our historical understanding of art defined in Civilisation.
To commemorate its 50th anniversary The Civilisations Festival is a ground-breaking collaboration between the BBC, museums, galleries, libraries and archives across the UK.
The National Heritage Centre at Palace House is delighted to be partnering with the Civilisations Festival by displaying a type of object in the collection which now divides opinion. Fifteen Victorian and twentieth-century horses’ hooves will be on display in the Atrium near the main reception. These hooves once belonged to famous racehorses, and were converted into decorative art objects such as inkwells and candlesticks. One object of particular interesting for its Newmarket connections is that of an inkwell from the hoof of Macaroni, a winner of the 1863 Derby who was trained from the stables at Palace House Newmarket.
This display is complemented by a rare film clip from the BBC Archives of Sir Winston Churchill who had a passion for horseracing. The clip explores the reaction of Churchill when he was presented with his portrait by Graham Sutherland on his birthday in 1954. Churchill hated the portrait which was subsequently destroyed. This film can be viewed in the Packard Galleries during opening hours. It is being shown in order to provoke questions about the relationship between artist and sitter, and how great art can mean such different things to different people.