Bexleyheath – Centre for the Arts and Crafts

I am guessing that to most people the London Borough of Bexleyheath does not spring readily to mind as a centre of artistic endeavour; but it is the home of the Red House, the home designed and built by the great designer William Morris.  Of course when Morris lived there it was still very much countryside and this, (as well as it’s close proximity to London) attracted many of Morris’ friends and contemporaries within the circles of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (and later Arts and Crafts movement) to join Morris and his family in what became an artists colony and the model which later inspired other colonies such as St Ives and Charleston.  Now owned and operated by the National  Trust, the Red House is surrounded by suburban housing of all kinds – middle class executive detached and semi-detached homes jostle for room with a council estate whose gardens back directly on to the Red House garden.  There is an air of peace and tranquility about the Red House today, and sitting in the garden it is easy to forget you are actually in London! Although precious few artefacts from Morris’ time at Red House remain (he left the house in 1865) the subsequent private owners did make some effort to preserve the decor in many of the rooms.  For me, the best thing about this house is that the NT allow you to take photo’s inside the house (no flash).  I was in heaven and took about 70 photos of largely empty rooms and their painted walls, ceilings and in some case painted built-in furniture.  I took a  guided tour round the house which was ably led by a charming man with encyclopaedic knowledge of Morris and the house which really brought the house to life.  Highly recommended.



About paisleypedlar

Artist, Sewist, sometime Cyclist and Arm Chair Activist
This entry was posted in Art, Country Houses, Crafty things, Fashion, Museums and Galleries, Out and about. Bookmark the permalink.

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