The Prince of Wales’s House in Viscri reopened to the public. The traditional Saxon property in the village of Viscri, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosts two new special exhibitions at the beginning of the 2023 visiting season: the ”Sewing for a Cause” exhibition of the Sewn Signs (Semne Cusute) association, which talks about fashion and activism inspired by tradition, and that of ceramic objects ”Historical Roof Coverings – A Restoration Paradigm”, in addition to the permanent exhibition of botanical art and book “The Transylvania Florilegium”.
”The Prince of Wales’s House in Viscri was opened to the public in July 2022, with the aim of making known the passions and involvement of His Majesty King Charles III of the United Kingdom in protecting traditional architecture and crafts, sustainable organic and small-scale farming, as well as grassland and forest biodiversity. The new exhibitions ligned up for this visiting season are closely related to the values promoted by His Majesty, while answering the questions we receive most often from visitors: Why did the former Prince of Wales buy a house in Viscri and what kept him coming back frequently?”, declared Mihai Grigore, administrator of the The Prince of Wales’s House in Viscri.
Last year, although it had opened midway through the tourist season, The Prince of Wales’s House in Viscri received nearly 14,000 visitors.
This year’s first temporary exhibition is ”Sewing for a Cause”, a manifesto exhibition by the women of the Sewn Signs community. Each of the 20 shirts on display is the result of an exercise of imagination, presenting the two worlds in contrast: on one hand, the paradise of biodiversity, on the other hand, the drama and wasteland generated by greed, reckless exploitation of resources, consumerism and fast – fashion.
Launched in 2012, Sewn Sings is a project dedicated to educating the general public in the preservation and transmission of traditional textile heritage and was named winner in the 2022 edition of the European Heritage Awards/ Europa Nova Awards, in the Education, Training and Skills category.
”The aim of Sewn Signs was to bring back to our wardrobes the traditional blouse with embroidery on the shoulder (called altiță), included by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, translating the messages they carry encoded in the fabric, color, texture and, of course, in the embroidered symbols. These are messages at the same time old and current: biodiversity, sustainability and inclusion. Today, the Semne Cusute online community counts over 46,000 women from the whole country,” says Ioana Corduneanu, founder of Sewn Signs (Semne Cusute).
The reconverted barn of the house at Viscri 163 hosts as well the permanent exhibition “The Transylvania Florilegium”. Watercolor drawings representing the wild flora of Transylvania, made by a select group of botanical artists from around the world coordinated by Helen Allen, accompanied by scientific information, were published in a limited fine art edition at the request of King Charles III, then HRH the Prince of Wales. The richness of this region’s flora is well known, but is threatened by changes in agricultural practices that could damage the landscape forever, so recording rare native plants is of real importance. This Royal Florilegium is presented in two volumes, bound in leather and marbled paper and with hand-applied gold leaf, each book measuring 495 x 350mm. “The Transylvania Florilegium” is published in a limited edition of 150 numbered sets, the first set being allocated to His Majesty, then HRH The Prince of Wales, who wrote the foreword to the albums and agreed to sign each copy.
Transylvania Florilegiumn. Credit Photo: Jo de Magneval
The “Historical Roof Coverings – A Restoration Paradigm” exhibition presents in a new vision the ceramic historical roof covering from both an ethnographic and architectural perspective, emphasizing the importance of the interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenon of restoration and rehabilitation of built patrimony. Historical inscribed tiles, ornamental roof vessels, images from a traditional tile factory or types of tiles and combs, are the main points of interest of the exhibition. The action responds to current problems of rehabilitation and “modernization” of the built patrimony in the South Transylvanian villages, subject to an accelerated process of chaotic transformation of the historical coverings, by their replacement with industrial products.
In addition, visiting The Prince of Wales’s House in Viscri, tourists can learn about the “Ambulance for Monuments” project, launched in 2016 to save hundreds of patrimony buildings in Romania through a network of active patrimony organizations. Emergency interventions are carried out by experts, students and trained craftsmen on a voluntary basis with the support of communities and local authorities. At the heart of the project in each region is an intervention kit – a van equipped with tools, equipment and construction materials. Since its beginning, the project has been supported by The Prince’s Foundation, an organization chaired by His Majesty King Charles III.
King Charles III, then HRH the Prince of Wales, making a traditional tile. Credit Photo Marcello Tucuna
Address of The Prince of Wales’s House: Viscri 163 (Str. Principală no 163), Viscri, Brașov County.