Explore Joana Vasconcelos’ extraordinary Wedding Cake, opening this summer at Waddesdon.
Wedding Cake, a 12-metre-tall ceramic sculptural pavilion in the form of a three-tiered cake, is a major new Rothschild Foundation commission from celebrated Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos.
Opening this summer, the Wedding Cake will stand within a grove of trees at Waddesdon beside the 19th-century Dairy.
It’s a playful continuation of the history of placing fanciful buildings in gardens and landscapes, which at Waddesdon include the ornamental Dairy and gilded Rococo-style Aviary.
Step inside this astonishing work of art on a 45-minute guided tour and enjoy a unique, richly sensory experience.
After the tour, you’ll have the chance to explore the collection of contemporary sculptures in the Water Garden at the Dairy, including Lafite, Vasconcelos’ magnificent sculpture, in the form of two giant candlesticks made of wine bottles.
“I want people to have three different approaches to it: looking from the outside, enjoying the surroundings from the different levels or balconies and rising to the top, and finally completing the artwork with their presence. Above all, I always thought of it as a temple to love.”
Part sculpture, part architectural garden folly, the extraordinary structure is a celebration of love, festivity and joy. Inspired by the exuberant Baroque buildings and decorative ceramic traditions of Lisbon, where Vasconcelos lives and works.
Thousands of gleaming, icing-like ceramic tiles glazed in pale pinks, greens and blues decorate the cake, all made in a traditional Portuguese manufactory. Further adorned with sculptural ornament and complete with the sounds of trickling water.
Wedding Cake is Vasconcelos’ most ambitious commission to date and a perfect complement to Waddesdon.
The vision and imagination exemplified in the piece mirror the passion which drove Baron Ferdinand, the creator of Waddesdon, to build the Manor and the Dairy, where he intended that his many friends would be surprised and delighted at every turn.
Traditionally-made ceramic tiles speak to the Manor’s world-renowned collection of Sèvres and Meissen porcelain. And the sumptuous decoration of the Wedding Cake reflects the architecture of the house, itself covered in intricate finials and ornaments.
Vasconcelos’ Lafite, two giant candlesticks made of illuminated Chateau Lafite Rothschild magnums, commissioned in 2015 by the Rothschild Foundation, stand in the Water Garden at the Dairy and celebrate the family associations to the world of great Bordeaux wine.
In 2012, her Pavilon de Thé, a giant wrought-iron tea pot, was the focal point of House of Cards, a contemporary sculpture exhibition in the gardens, and in 2016 her Cup Cake (2011) was exhibited on the North Front.
Along with the Wedding Cake, these pieces showcase the defining characteristics of Vasconcelos’ practice. Her work is often playful, manipulating scale to dramatic effect and using familiar daily objects in surprising, charming and inventive ways.
Please see important information below.
Adult tickets – £15.00
Normal grounds admission applies
Tours run on Thursday 10.30am to 3.30pm and on selected Sundays from 10.30am to 1.30pm.