Visiting William Morris at Kelmscott Manor, plus video
I love it when my friend Elaine calls and says, “Are you free Wednesday next at about a quarter past one, dahling?”
I love it because I know she’s planning a surprise for me.
In the past she’s taken me to Charlecote Park, Seizincote House and a beautiful medieval tithe barn, so I know an outing with her is a treat.
This year she’s taken me to see Kelmscott Manor, the country estate that William Morris rented with his friend and colleague Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
It’s unnecessary to say that the manor is just beautiful, and for an Arts and Crafts movement lover like me, the ideal place to visit.
I can see a lot of the founding roots of my Vancouver Craftsman cottage right in this house.
The decorative details are just spectacular here. This is the top part of a settle, (a tall, wooden-backed bench), and it has gilded, embossed and painted designs. The designs carry on onto the back because it wasn’t meant to necessarily stand up against a wall. What a fantastic room divider. Now I want o figure out how I can make one.
Jane Morris, William’s wife, is the muse and subject of many of the paintings and stitched designs. She was the favourite muse of Dante Gabriel Rossetti as well, so her image is everywhere.
And so are the traditional Morris designed textiles.
Here in the Green room there are even the two original wood carvings used for this print.
The lights and chandeliers are also bespoke…
…and designed to cast shadows on the ceilings. Here a butterfly above the staircase.
All the windows are old oak with metal handles and latches,
and all have views out into the gardens and surrounding countryside.
Here is Jane’s bedroom.
It has the Morris willow fabric around her bed, and a coverlet stitched by her daughters.
This unusual little staircase leads up to the fourth floor and a beautiful lofted attic space.
It’s an unusual staircase and such a brilliant idea. You walk up it by putting your feet on either run and you feel a bit like a duck…lol…but the best part is that it’s comfortable to walk up and down and occupies a space no bigger than a ladder. (A traditional staircase would have to come out twice as far and wouldn’t fit here)
Brilliant, isn’t it?
Here is one of the attic bedrooms.
And here is another.
This is the view from up here.
The garden is divided into large spaces. Some are formal lawns with flower borders, and some are left natural.
There are orchards and hay meadows, potagers and croquet lawns.
Here is the link to the little video I made of my visit.
Can you imagine how lovely it must have been to live and create in this beautiful home.
And, if you needed to have a break from all that creativity, you just go launch your boat on the Thames right next door. 😀
Gift shop! Look at those umbrellas!