Lafite, 2014

Joanna Vasconcelos, 'Lafite, 2015' (one of a pair), Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

Joanna Vasconcelos, ‘Lafite, 2015’ (one of a pair), Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

I’m habitually suspicious of modern art, sensing that some of it is a repository for rich people’s spare capital and much of it is artists’ scratching their imaginative itches in preference to providing pleasure for non-artists.

On the contrary, I took an immediate liking to a pair of sculptures that I found installed at the entrance to Waddesdon Manor, the great French-style chateau that Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild built on a bare hilltop in Buckinghamshire between 1874 and 1889. Though Waddesdon was given to the National Trust in 1957, it is run by a Rothschild family trust, and the nearby subsidiary house at Eythrop is the residence of Jacob, Lord Rothschild.

Joanna Vasconcelos’ Lafite, 2015 celebrates the family’s connection with wine and their great Bordeaux estate, Château Lafite Rothschild. It consists of a pair of giant candlesticks composed of over a thousand magnums, neatly connecting the magnificent Rothschild fine art within the house with the produce of the family vineyards:

At night the candlesticks light up.

Joanna Vasconcelos’ trademark is to construct artworks from everyday forms, such as Piano Dentelle, 2008-2011 [], Pavillon de Thé, 2012 [] and Call Centre, 2014 []. For more illustrations of Joanna Vasconcelos’ work, see

Waddesdon Manor is one of the National Trust’s most popular sites, and is best visited at off-peak times:

You can treat yourself to a bottle of wine if you’ve a bob or two to spare:

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