Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Arts And Crafts With Liz And Jon

We lived in Bexleyheath for nine years- but in all that time, I never went inside the Red House – the home of the artist William Morris – although I drove past it often. At that point, it was still in the private ownership of the Hollanby family. They did open it to the public four times a year – but I never managed to be available on the right days. Now the house is in the care of the National Trust- and last Saturday we packed a picnic and drove over to see it [Jon cycled, and met us there] The house is amazing – the NT are still working on it [the new café and giftshop open next week] I took loads of photos. Click on the collage for a closer lookfebruary 2014

Morris said Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”  - and the house is decorated with lots of beautiful wood panelling, clever brickwork, wall paintings, and textiles.


IMG_1557His personal motto was “Si je puis” [If I may] and crops up all over the place, on stained glass windows and tiles. On another door, I found two lions painted over the Latin tag “Esto quod esse videris” [Be what you seem to be] Over one mantel, “ars longa, vita brevis” [art is long, life is short]


Over another [in English at last!] Our content is our best havingIMG_1556

IMG_1533Although the wood and brickwork was beautiful, I think my favourite items were the fabrics and the embroideries. The detail was amazing. This is Aphrodite [believed to have been sewn by WM’s SIL] She’s had a ‘modesty panel’ attached across her hips! The stitching is lovely – look at those shaded cheekbones [nearly as good as those of newsreader Romilly Weeks]








I felt that I wanted to go home and start doing some crewel work immediately. Of course I didn’t- but I have put it on my 52 Projects list! I thought of many of my blogfriends as we wandered around. I could see this embroidered cushion at The Custards and this fabric in the Land of the Strawberries!



IMG_1545Because it was half term, there was even a Wombat Trail for the children.  Do check out the NT Red House site. Good to visit, with free parking nearby and picnic benches in the lovely garden outside.


Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” 

Well, it is probably a good thing to aspire to – but looking around me as I sit at the PC, I realise I will have to declutter drastically before I get anywhere near Morris’ ideal!


  1. Wow, what an amazing place to visit, thanks for sharing the photographs. I love "be what you seem to be" as a motto too.

  2. There seems to be so much to take in,I think I'd be a bit overwhelmed!
    Jane x

  3. Oooh, sounds great! I love Morris!!! X


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