A virtual model of the Canaletto Room has been created by the White Rose project Travel and Transport in the CountryHouse which allows viewers to ‘walk’ into the room at Castle Howard, select a painting, view it in more detail and find out more information about it and the artist that painted it. Led by Dr Kate Giles (Senior Lecturer, Dept Archaeology, University of York) and Dr Chris Ridgway (Yorkshire Country House Partnership) with technical expertise from Dr Anthony Masinton (DC Labs), this exciting extension to the project was designed as an interactive panoramic experience.  Some of the paintings have been upgraded to higher-resolution and full-colour in the model to create a more rewarding immersive experience. This pilot was designed around the potential of using both virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) to allow the visitor to walk around the room (rather than being restricted to a single position). The ability to access, visualise and overlay data will have a huge impact on how we experience art, culture, entertainment and much, much more in the future. The project team aligned the work with the AHRC Next Generation of Immersive Experiences call, using technology to explore multi-sensory, narrative, and interpretative experiences to create future creative and commercial value.

The Collaboration Fund project was based on a long standing academic relationship with the Yorkshire Country House Partnership (YCHP) which is a collaboration of seven houses in the county and the University of York, with Castle Howard being one of the more well known houses involved. YCHP is dedicated to researching the architecture, landscapes, collections, families and archives of the country houses of Yorkshire. The Travel and Transport in the Country House project  challenged curators and academics alike to think creatively about the role of the country house in pioneering cutting-edge transport technologies and to find new ways of understanding and interpreting everyday objects. Three new micro projects were undertaken between Brodsworth Hall and the University of Sheffield; Kiplin Hall and the University of York, and the National Railway Museum and the University of Sheffield. In addition, ten new research papers by Early Career Researchers in the project team were presented at the Plenary Conference at the end of the project.

 “Funding from the White Rose consortium has allowed us to take our original project proposal one step further, responding to new initiatives around digital technologies and their possible application to country house, gallery and museum collections. We look forward to further initiatives and projects between York, Leeds, Sheffield and the Yorkshire Country House partnership, bringing cutting-edge creative and immersive experiences to visitors and curators

Dr Kate Giles, University of York