Longleat bids farewell to Chinese lanterns


A unique set of animal themed giant Chinese lanterns are set to be sold this week in a live online auction with proceeds going to The Duke of Cambridge’s African wildlife conservation charity Tusk.

Longleat is to put up to 19 items for auction, all especially made by a team from China as part of the Festival of Light Event which ran over the Christmas period on the Wiltshire Estate.

The Festival of Light attracted more than 150,000 visitors and saw thousands of enormous hand crafted illuminated designs, some measuring up to 20 metres in height, transform the Wiltshire estate in to a glowing wonderland.

The auction is being run by Addison Gelpey, of BathAuctioneers.com and TV presenter of Channel 5’s ‘Storage: Flog the Lot!’ with bidding now available online through auction site ‘The-saleroom.com’.

Fans of the giant lanterns will have the opportunity to bid on 19 different life-sized animal lanterns depicting some of Longleat Safari Park’s famous residents which include a lion, giraffe, rhino, flamingo, camel, zebra and cheetah.

Addison said, ‘This is a fabulous opportunity for anybody who came to see the Festival of Light to own a piece of Longleat. I’ve overseen many different collectables in my time but nothing quite as unique and spectacular as this.’

Some of the 7,000 lanterns which made up Longleat’s Festival of Light will be retained for the 2015 Christmas event but the decision to auction some of the hand crafted giant lanterns came after requests from visitors to the park.

Longleat Chairman, Ceawlin Thynn said, ‘The Festival of Light was such a great success and we’ve been inundated with requests from visitors who came to see the lanterns asking if there can take them off us once the Christmas period finished.

We plan to have a brand new set of lanterns on display for this year’s Festival but we felt it would be a shame to destroy the ones which are not going to be used again.

TUSK is a charity close to our heart which we have been working with for more than 10 years. It only seemed appropriate that proceeds go to this great cause.’

The auction for the nineteen different items commences this week on The-saleroom.com and will run until Wednesday, February 11th. Anybody interested in bidding on the lanterns can have the opportunity to come and look at them in a special viewing day held on the front forecourt of Longleat house on Sunday, 1st February between 12pm – 4pm.

See photos of Longleat Festival of Light