The ceiling of the Organ Room at Glyndebourne is a thing of great beauty, constructed a century ago to the exacting specifications of our founder, John Christie.
Here we take a look at the origins of the Organ Room, and how the pattern has been lovingly resurrected for the 21st century.
Origins of the Organ Room
Many of you will have enjoyed a visit to our historic Organ Room, which is open to ticket holders during every day of the Festival. Next time you are there, take a closer look at the impressive ornamental ceiling.
2020 is the 100th anniversary of the room, constructed by our music-loving founder John Christie to house the organ and hold intimate opera recitals. No expense was spared in its construction - the records in our archive show that £1,000 was spent on the ceiling - £45,000 in today’s terms.
The ceiling, with its distinctive pendant motif was created by a specialist team of ornamental plasterers from the prestigious interiors firm White, Allom and Company.
It took three months, beginning in April 1922, to install the casts, which were made in London and carefully transported to Glyndebourne by rail, and the cast figures that were made in gelatine moulds for the cornices. The craftsmen worked on a scaffold just 6 feet, 6 inches away from the ceiling.
Now, the Organ Room ceiling has been adopted as a pattern by Glyndebourne shop, adorning opera scarves, bow ties, notebooks, the lining of leather goods and more. You will also see the pattern on all of the shop’s packaging, from jewellery boxes to bags. It was lovingly recreated by the designers at Keenpak, and Darren Seymour, their Creative and Marketing Director told us more about the process: ‘I came over to Glyndebourne back in 2017 to get a feel of the magical place as well as looking for any inspiration which might translate to the shop packaging’ says Darren.
‘I was drawn to the organ room ceiling and its distinct pattern. I stood dead centre and tried to take a shot which could possibly be used more graphically. We were keen to create a range that was personal to Glyndebourne – a fusion of history, modern eccentricity and performance.’
From the photos Darren took, the team set about faithfully recreating the pattern ‘Using the photos we pushed the contrast and tiled images in Photoshop, then used Adobe Illustrator to draw over the top of in order to get an overall clean pattern.’
‘In the end it became very recognisable and iconic’ says Darren, ‘and tied to a key part of Glyndebourne.’