Enlightened have recently been working with National Trust on an immersive project at their Prior Park gardens located in Bath. The head gardener from the gardens has written a statement on completion of our works.
The grotto is one of the original 18th century features of the garden at Prior Park. Since acquisition in 1993 the National Trust has been slowly restoring the garden to its appearance in 1764, the year in which its creator Ralph Allen died. The Grotto is a special feature which has proved a challenge to restore, there is doubt about its original appearance and there is not much left to go on. Early on the remains were covered by a temporary tin shed made from scaffolding and corrugated metal sheets. This was done to save the stone work from further deterioration and also protect the mosaic floor with its elaborate design made up of bones, pebbles and fossils.
In 2016 we decided to reinterpret the interior of the shed and try to make more of the remaining stonework. Also we wanted a space where we could show a digital model of how the whole garden looked in 1764. This has been developed with John Tredinnick of Bath university and is an innovative interpretation tool which is being developed for several historic sites. Prior Park Landscape Garden was chosen as a place to develop the model and we needed a space to show the impressive images to the wider public.
We chose to work with Enlightened Lighting on the recommendation of other National Trust properties, especially Lacock Abbey. Initially we met with Simon Marcus to discuss possibilities, right from the start we were impressed with his enthusiasm and expertise. We came through the process of feasibility to an agreed outcome we all thought possible within our budget. This included projection of the programme, lighting of the stone work and large scale blacking out to hide the scaffolding and make the best lighting effects.
Installation was done very efficiently and several subsequent visits have been necessary to ensure everything is running smoothly. We have been very impressed with Enlightened Lightings approach from start to finish – designing the scheme, installation and follow up have all been excellent and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.
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