Production design degree students’ creative talents take the biscuit
Some unusual props created by production design degree students from The Northern School of Art have gone on display beside a unique collection of famous paintings at a leading north east tourist attraction.
Plates of replica biscuits made by the students using 250-year-old moulds, feature in an unusual dinner party set in the Long Dining Room (pictured above) at the newly conserved Auckland Castle, which houses the famous collection of Zurbarán paintings.
The third-year students used skills they have learned on the School’s BA (Hons) Production Design for Stage and Screen degree course to craft the biscuits to be an authentic centrepiece for the table, which is laid for a dessert course that took place over 250 years ago (pictured below Photograph: House of Hues Courtesy: The Auckland Project).
Designed so that visitors can catch the diners as they finish their meal, the scene dates back to the time of the Bishop Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham from 1752 to 1771. Bishop Trevor bought the paintings, Jacob and His Twelve Sons by Spanish Master, Francisco de Zurbarán, and hung them in the Long Dining Room, where they remain on display today.
As part of the project, the students visited acclaimed food historian Ivan Day (pictured below), the UK’s leading expert on historic cookery, whose seventeenth century farmhouse on the edge of the English Lake District houses an antique kitchen.
Using equipment from the 1700s, the students made silicone moulds for biscuits of a type that would have been served at Bishop Trevor’s dinner party, which they used to make the biscuit props when they returned to the School’s Hartlepool base.
Production Design student Georgia Bell, 21, from Hull said: “This project was an incredibly fun experience. It’s rare to be able to create truly authentic historical props, and something I’m really happy to have been a part of.”
Fellow student Olivia Springer, 20, from Bradford, West Yorkshire added: “I had a brilliant time making the biscuits for Auckland Castle and it gave us the opportunity to learn new techniques.”
Ivan Day commented: “It was a great experience introducing such an enthusiastic group of students to these forgotten culinary techniques and for them to come up with such impressive results.”
Auckland Castle forms the centrepiece of The Auckland Project visitor destination being created in Bishop Auckland. The regeneration charity recently re-opened the Castle following three years of conservation work.
Anne Sutherland, Assistant Curator at The Auckland Project, worked with the students to install their replica food in Auckland Castle.
She said: “It was a pleasure to work with The Northern School of Art Students and we were all impressed by their hard work and enthusiasm.
“The end result in the Long Dining Room looks wonderful and will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.”
The Northern School of Art’s Production Design lecturer Norman Austick said that the students benefit hugely from being involved with live project briefs as part of their course.
“It was fantastic for the students to be able to work with Auckland Castle on such a prestigious, high profile project. Ivan Day was also brilliant and incredibly helpful and was very impressed with what the students have created.”
The School’s well-regarded BA (Hons) Production Design for Stage and Screen degree is one of a wide range of specialist creative courses offered at the School’s degree and postgraduate level campus in Hartlepool. For further information about the course visit https://bit.ly/2NOxDEy