Shugborough has a rich photographic history. It was the home and backdrop of the late Patrick Lichfield, one of the most important photographers of his generation. He took iconic photos in these grounds, and an exhibition of his works is currently on display. The more you look at Lichfield’s portraits, the more you realise how good he really was. Many Shugborough staff knew Patrick Lichfield personally.
This historic estate is still the home of the Earls of Lichfield. Visitors can view the entire estate, including all its major working historic buildings and the original parkland. The costumed staff, animals, fountains, statues and landscaped grounds are great subjects for all kinds of photography and we can use them all in our photography classes. There are great follies and statues in the grounds. The river was diverted to make good scenery, and it still does! It is a great location to improve your photography techniques.
Patrick Lichfield was a master portrait photographer, and by all accounts a very nice chap. Being a nice chap is a critical attribute of portrait photographers, enabling you to get along with your subjects. Although Lichfield is mostly remembered for photographing the rich and famous, particularly Charles and Diana’s and Mick and Bianca’s weddings, and he also undertook advertising photography using Shugborough as a backdrop. Many of his former acquaintances tell stories of how he was very happy to photograph them at fetes and events using their cameras, and was always happy to bend the rules. In addition to his celebrity photography he also took very well-respected portraits of market traders and assorted characters in the city of London, including homeless people. His consummate skill as a portrait photographer comes across in his work, particularly his ability to keep calm at moments of extreme stress, such as herding heads of state at the Royal wedding.
In 2017 the estate was taken over by the National Trust. Since then, a lot of the fences across the land have been taken down, improving sight lines. Another cafe has been opened in the former agricultural buildings, and some of the landscape features have been made more prominent, which is very useful for landscape photography. Taking over the estate has been a great success for the National Trust, and numbers of visitors are higher than expected.
Your course price includes entry to Shugborough House and grounds. There are a great cafe. For more details and how to get there see the Shugborough website. We started teaching photography workshops there in 2009, using the educational facilities on weekends, and even opening the estate for us when it was closed in the winter. Under National Trust ownership the facilities have been greatly improved, and the estate will be open year-round. Our opportunities for teaching have been limited by the building work this year, though we expect to have a full series of courses in 2018.
Thanks to the historic Shugborough Estate for allowing us to hold our Staffordshire photography courses here.