Creating the Petworth Christmas Masquerade

Mannequins deigned by Denise Watson of Delicarta - Bringing Paper to Life on display at Petworth for the Christmas Masquerade

Decorating a home for Christmas can take weeks to arrange once you've finally found the perfect tree, you've at last fished out the Christmas lights from the attic, you've finally got every decoration and ornament just so to give your home that festive feeling, not to mention planned and prepped the food you'll be serving for a festive feast.

Now try picturing that on Petworth's scale.

We've been planning and preparing since April 2016.

A Christmas Masquerade

Inspired by the Italian art within the Petworth collection, we invite you to a spectacle of mischief and disguise with four state rooms of the mansion dressed for an Italiante Christmas Masquerade.

Bringing the spirit of revelry to life are scenes of mannequins by Denise Watson of Delicarta - bringing paper to life, dressed in fantastical costumes all intricately designed and created from paper.

To accompany the tale told by the mannequins, the mansion will be decked with a plethora of paper decorations from large scale papier mache masks to detailed folded origami decorations.

The creation

They say perfection can't be rushed.

Follow our work below as we prepare Petworth for a Christmas Masquerade open 3 December to 2 January.

Latest updates

06 Oct 16

The handmade decorations journey

Over the past few months a team of staff and volunteers have been busy creating all of the handcrafted paper decorations to deck the estate rooms of the mansion for A Christmas Masquerade. From fluffy pom poms to ornate fans, from papier maché Italiante masks to precision folded origami cranes, each item is unique and ready to steal the show this Christmas.

21 Sep 16

Creating a necklace

One of the most iconic scenes at the Christmas Masquerade is the gondola scene where two women will feature, one sailing in the gondola and one resting on the riverbank, dressed in matching costume but with mirroring colours. It'll be quite a shock for the unsuspecting suitor when he finally sees them both together. Here Denise shows us how she makes the paper necklaces the women will be wearing.

13 Jul 16

Making a ruffle

Paper is now the material of choice for Denise Watson of Delicarta - Bringing Paper to Life and her aim is to fool onlookers into thinking what they are really seeing is fabric. Here Denise is making a ruffle of a sleeve for one of the women that will be seated in a gondola in the Marble Hall of Petworth for the Christmas Masquerade filled with mischief and disguise.