With less than two months to go before the reopening of Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery, excitement is building for the return of one of the borough’s most famous and iconic heritage gems.
It marks the successful completion of a £12 million conservation and restoration project led by Ealing Council, working together with Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust, which has guided the building from near-dereliction to a must-visit destination in just a short few years.
And this March, Pitzhanger is celebrating its return by hosting an exhibition by acclaimed artist Anish Kapoor – set to be the Turner Prize-winning sculptor’s only UK show this year.
Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery spoke to Ealing News Extra about welcoming such a high profile artist to the borough. She said: “We are delighted that Anish Kapoor will launch Pitzhanger Gallery’s exhibition programme. We are really excited about the programme we will be able to offer to those from Ealing and beyond.”
Based in Walpole Park, Pitzhanger Manor is the Grade I listed home of visionary British architect Sir John Soane and the restoration has been completed with his original vision for the building in mind, as Clare explains: “Soane designed many significant buildings in the Regency era – including the Bank of England, and remains hugely influential to this day.
“He designed Pitzhanger to be his country residence when Ealing was still outside the borders of London, and it had a special place in his heart as his dream country villa.
“We felt it was so important to conserve the building as closely as possible to Soane’s original vision” continues Clare.
“We’ve reinstated three key elements of Soane’s original design that had since disappeared, including the conservatory, which was originally demolished in 1901, and a central roof light.
“A beautiful colonnade connecting the Manor and Gallery buildings has also been recreated and Soane’s original intricate paint schemes from as far back as the early 1800s have also been meticulously reinstated throughout.”
The contemporary exhibition at Pitzhanger will provide an interesting juxtaposition to Soane’s design of the Manor. Clare continues: “Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation: his work at Pitzhanger will enable the public to look at Soane and his influence in a new light. Kapoor’s use of material and form will echo Soane’s complex use of mirrors and light in the Manor.”
The project has been delivered by Ealing Council and managed in partnership with Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust, with grants obtained from Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and others.
Council leader Julian Bell added: “Pitzhanger Manor is the crown jewel of Ealing’s heritage. This is why we have worked so hard to secure the investment necessary to realise its full historical impact.
“It’s wonderful to see an internationally renowned artist such as Anish Kapoor showcasing work at Pitzhanger – and alongside the historic splendour of Soane’s architecture, a visit to the Manor and Gallery will prove an unbeatable trip for both our residents and those from further afield.”
Find out more about the restoration project and upcoming events courtesy of the Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery Trust.