Royal Ballet principals help Petworth House commemorate armistice centenary

The sun is God, a story of love, loss and remembrance @Pennefather films
The sun is God, a story of love, loss and remembrance @Pennefather films

Petworth House will commemorate the anniversary of the end of the First World War with an exclusive short film screening, performed by principals of The Royal Ballet. The Sun is God will be shown on Tuesday, November 13 at 6.30pm.

Filmed at Petworth House and Park, The Sun is God is a story of love, loss and remembrance where a young woman imagines her betrothed has returned from the horrors of the Great War in France. The seven-minute film produced and directed by Pennefather Films captures the moments the two lovers shared together against the backdrop of the Baroque interiors at Petworth House and the Capability Brown landscaped Deer park.

John Harley, honorary chairman for the Petworth Film House, said: “The Sun is God screening is an excellent addition to the World War One programme of commemorations that have already taken place at Petworth. The 2018 Petworth Festival this summer featured a dramatic one man show in the Chapel of Petworth House that told the life of World War One veteran Edger Huggins during the battles of Ypres and the Somme. The Sun is God interprets the feelings of loss and remembrance through poetic use of classical ballet, a fitting medium for a town that champions art and culture of all kinds, and boasts art galleries, antique shops, amateur dramatic societies, artisan cafés and the annual Petfringe musical festival.”

Of particular note is the scene filmed in the Old Library of Petworth House, used by the great English Romantic landscape painter JMW Turner on several occasions as a studio when visiting his patron the 3rd Earl of Egremont in the 19th century.

The Sun is God is named after Turner’s dying words and it is Turner’s oil on canvas in the Carved Room of Petworth House, The Lake, Petworth: Sunset, a stag drinking that triggers the memories for the young woman and sparks the stirring ballet that transpires.

Cathy Hakes, visitor experience officer for Petworth House, said: “The role of Petworth House was pivotal in the life of JMW Turner and no fewer than 20 paintings which were bought and commissioned by the 3rd Earl of Egremont are on display. We are honoured to be involved in this moving short film.”

Performed by The Royal Ballet principals Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball, and choreographed by Valentino Zucchetti (The Royal Ballet), the story is set to the 2nd Movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. The screening in Petworth’s Leconfield Hall will involve a short introduction from director Alice Pennefather. Advanced tickets to the screening are £16 available from www.petworthfilmhouse.co.uk.

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