Magical Lantern Festival

Leafy west London, palladian villa Chiswick House, built by the third Earl of Burlington in 1729, gardens designed by architect William Kent and the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement – so far, so English.

This spring it also hosted The Magical Lantern Festival, during which the grounds were illuminated to celebrate Chinese New Year. An hour long trail comprising life size sculptures, a ten metre high recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, an undulating 66 metre long dragon, terracotta army sculptures, and a Tree of Life lantern mixed with oversized flowers and mushrooms to create a fairytale scene. 2016 is the year of the monkey, and was marked by a lit waterfall and a Mount Huaguo lantern as the setting for a recreation of the Chinese fable.

The event was pretty, pleasing to the eye, but lacked any cultural explanation or artistic power to justify the £16 price ticket. Created by WeLi Creative, it was the first year of the event, and given how popular it proved to be, may well end up being a regular occurrence in the diary of family fun.

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