The Arts & Crafts House in Newcastle and in Leeds

Back in the summer of 2015 on my drive down to Cornwall I was faced with a dilemma. Whether to visit the LAND sculpture created by Antony Gormley as part of the 50th birthday celebrations of the Landmark Trust and installed alongside the Stratford upon Avon Canal outside the Landmark property Lengthsman’s Cottage. Or whether to call in at Compton Verney House to view the exhibition “The Arts and Crafts House; then and now”. In the end the Landmark won the day.

Then earlier in January, I don’t remember how I came across it, I found that the Laing Gallery in Newcastle was showing the same exhibition until the 31st of the month. I knew I would get to see it and who I hoped would come with me.

So, on Saturday 23 January I met with my friend June in Newcastle and we visited The Laing, which is the municipal gallery for Newcastle Upon Tyne.

book

Devised as a series of encounters between historic and contemporary works, this exhibition traces the origins and legacy of the Arts and Crafts Movement and its fascination with the creation of the home.

Through the work and ideas of John Ruskin and William Morris, the exhibition will explore how subsequent generations of designers created new ways of living and working in an era of collaborative design and experimentation. The exhibition will also look at the link between house and garden and how nature became a primary source of inspiration for designers. Presenting richly diverse media including furniture, textiles, paintings, ceramics, wallpaper, books and photography, the show will bring together objects from important Arts and Crafts collections and houses.

Celebrated designers and collaborators such as Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, Alfred and Louise Powell, the Barnsley Brothers and Ernest Gimson will be explored alongside today’s leading designers including: Sebastian Cox, Rosa Nguyen, Andrew Wicks, Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley. A number of key Arts & Crafts houses will also be featured including Cragside, Morris’ homes at Kelmscott Manor and Red House, Lutyens and Jekyll’s Munstead Wood and Rodmarton Manor.

Cragside

Cragside, Northumberland, visited July 2007

Munstead Wood

Munstead Wood. Hope to visit this year.

It was not just a retelling of the story of the Arts and Crafts Movement but was very much linked to good practice today. I’m afraid I wasn’t very helpful as I took us the wrong way in and we had to work our way forwards to the beginning – but I didn’t feel that it made too much difference. This meant that we spent a lot of time at the start looking (and touching) modern day handmade or finished household items such as crockery, cutlery, brushes, garden implements, etc. This area reminded me very much of a shop I’d visited in Oxford a couple of years ago: Objects of Use.

book brush and books

My Book Brush came from The Home at Salts Mill

There were also some modern day installations plus examples of beautiful craftsman-made wood furniture from today and from late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although originally shown at Compton Verney there were also mentions of local northeast connections influenced by the movement such as Cragside House in Northumberland.

No photography was allowed so I wasn’t going to post about the trip here but then when I got home I thought, Why not? We have used some Morris fabrics and wallpapers in our own home so I’ll go round and photograph what I can find. And here is what I came up with.

P Webb stamp

1st class stamp Cherries by Philip Webb
The stamp shows a detail from a dining-room wall panel of 1867, now housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum. [website]

Birthday gift

On Saturday it was my birthday and I received this William Morris design wrapping paper

paper and curtain

Wallpaper Voysey by Morris & Co : Miladysboudoir

ianthe and medway

Wallpaper Medway by Morris & Co and Liberty Ianthe Curtain : sitting room

A Book Launch at Middlethorpe Hall, York

Garden Equation

A couple of months ago I contacted Sally Tierney (The Yorkshire Garden Designer) as I’m hoping to improve an overgrown area of the garden and make it into a little haven of tranquility with raised beds of herbs and flowers and a special garden seat but with minimal upkeep as I am away such a lot. I liked her premise that your garden should fit into your lifestyle and not the other way round. When she first arrived in October and we talked about my ideas she christened it ‘The Reading Garden’. Sally then told me about her forthcoming publication and invited me to the book launch. Continue reading

Ancient Ireland [6] : Youghal

youghal poster

It’s beginning to seem like every place in Ireland has ancient connections and that this thread will run and run. But here is another walk description of the ancient port of Youghal (pronounced Yawl), Co. Cork. My walk was a guided one with local town crier, Clifford, in his full town-crying regalia. But it more less followed the suggested Town Walk in this leaflet which I have abbreviated here.

ring-of-cork-clifford-winser

Clifford Continue reading

Wentworth Castle Gardens Revisited

In June 2013 I wrote about my visit to Wentworth Castle Gardens mentioning that I hoped to return to inspect the completed restoration of the Victorian Glasshouse. Yesterday, at last, I managed to get back there and noticed that the trust, the employees, contractors and volunteers had made many further improvements and additions.

Glasshouse

The Fully Restored Victorian Glasshouse

Continue reading

Report of a Sunday in Lancashire

Last weekend I ventured over to Lancashire. I’d been invited to a garden party at a friend’s allotment (dress code: fascinator and wellies) in Higher Walton, near Preston. It was raining as I left home in Yorkshire but by the time I was across the Pennines it had stopped and we enjoyed a Jacob’s Join lunch in the open air. I must say that allotment gardening, and gardening in general, look like an awful lot of hard work … but the gain is tremendous; Kath’s plot exceeded all expectations.

Plot 98 7

Welcome to the Party!

Wildflower bed

Wildflower Bed

Plot 98 1

Plot 98 6

Kath's Bee Hotel

Kath’s Bee Hotel

The Pottering Shed

It may be a shed

Trespassers

It turned out that the allotment is just a few minutes from Hoghton Tower so after lunch two of us made our way to the Tower where we came across a reenactment of the Battle of Preston (1715). Amongst the reenactors I was surprised to see the Leeds Waits a group of musicians specialising in medieval music and, incidentally, my next-door neighbours!

Leeds Waits

The battle of Preston at Houghton Tower 2015 : a short film showing the musicians that used to play at executions!”

We booked a tour of the house at 2.30 and made for the tea room for refreshments beforehand.

Hoghton Tower

Some significant people are associated with Hoghton. In particular our guide was impressed by the James I connection. James is reported to have spent a few nights at the Tower in 1617 and it was here that he was so pleased with his roast beef dinner that he knighted the joint Sir Loin. James was apparently a small chap and instead of dismounting outside in the courtyard he rode his horse right into the house and up the stairs.
It is also reported that William Shakespeare spent some time here during the period known as his ‘lost years’.

Charles Dickens was also familiar with the house and wrote a short story centred around it including a description of the building as a farm house: George Silverman’s Explanation.

And so, by fragments of an ancient terrace, and by some rugged outbuildings that had once been fortified, and passing under a ruined gateway, we came to the old farm-house in the thick stone wall outside the old quadrangle of Hoghton Towers.

Courtyard today

The “quadrangle” today

Read here about another blogger’s visit to Hoghton.

The Battle's over

The Battle’s Over – Time to go Home

 

 

Folly! at Fountains

folly leaflet

Folly! is the first of a three year programme that creatively brings the stories of Studley Royal to life, through the vision of some of the country’s most innovative artists and designers.

The original designers of the Studley Royal Water Garden, the Aislabie family, created many follies on this vast and beautiful estate to surprise and delight their eighteenth-century guests. These fashionable, whimsical buildings or structures were often used by garden designers to catch the eye or draw attention to a carefully created vista.

‘Folly!’ will see the temples and follies of this World Heritage Site garden dramatically re-imagined as places of visual trickery and untold histories.

Seek out the Octagon Tower, Temple of Fame, Banqueting House and Temple of Piety this summer and be amazed by installations created by twenty-first century artists in response to the opulent past of this unique place.”

folly map

I’ve written several times here about visits to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal – it’s one of my favourite places and easy to get to from home.

My first stop was at The Banqueting Hall. At weekends and during the school holidays the follies are open during the afternoon so I was able to go inside and see Gary McCann’s ‘Scavenger’ close to.

Scavenger

‘Scavenger’ by Gary McCann

Inside The Temple of Piety, which overlooks the Moon Ponds, is The Curious Tale of the Professor and The Temple created by Simon Costin, theatre and set designer. Supported by the jewellers Swarovski, the lavish display is purportedly based on the papers of a Professor Dennistoun of Ripon who died in 1959. He thought Fountains Abbey was the ‘Ancient place of worship now in ruins’ – a line from a prophecy of Old Mother Shipton from nearby Knaresbrough.

TofP

An ancient place of worship, now in ruin, One family shall come to dwell in. But lest the old un’s are kept entertained, No male heirs shall take the reins.

in tofp

diana

Diana, the goddess of hunting

flora

I don’t know why the goddess Flora is a teapot!

Next up was The Octagon Tower and a Hall of Mirrors by Irene Brown. It was impossible to take a picture inside so here’s a little video made by the Trust :

octagon tower

The Octagon Tower

Finally, ‘Lost Property’ also by Gary McCann is the Scavenger’s ‘nest’.

lost property

Within the smooth classical pillars of the Temple of Fame the invasion of the landscape continues. Intertwined within the artist’s creation is lost property. Collected from visitors, it provides sustenance to fantastical creatures which have taken up residence in spaces previously controlled by man

folly map cover

A marvellously magical and mysterious day out. I’m still mystified by what I saw!

Hales Great Barn

This weekend was our nephew’s wedding in Norfolk and as this was a family and friends occasion I never expected to conjure up a blog post about it. But, since we got home I couldn’t resist showing you the magnificent venue where the reception was held.

inside great barn

After a few days of seasonally summer weather at last, Saturday dawned wet and cloudy and the rain continued, on and off, throughout the day. It was a shame but it didn’t dull any of our festivities: it just meant that we were inside for rather more time than we had expected to be.

Hempnall Church

The wedding itself took place in St Margaret’s Church, Hempnall (above) and had a lovely relaxed country wedding atmosphere. From there a convoy of cars travelled along the quiet country lanes of Norfolk and Suffolk and across the huge Hales Green Common to reach Hales Hall Barn for the reception.

barn in full

About Hales Hall

The Great Barn at Hales Hall and the Hall itself were built in 1478 and the present Hall is the surviving wing of an even larger house built by Sir James Hobart, the Attorney General to Henry VII. There have been buildings on the site since Roman times.

The barn outside

The 178ft Great Barn is the largest surviving brick-built medieval barn in Britain and features a superb example of a ‘queen-post’ roof.

Massive roof

The Hall and Great Barn had fallen into agricultural use by 1971 when it was purchased by the Read family. It has been lovingly restored and owners Peter Sheppard and Keith Day plan to continue the restoration in the future.

Hales Hall is set on the edge of Hales Green, one of only a few ‘commons’ still grazed by cattle in the summer and is a haven for wildlife. At the heart of the Waveney Valley, Hales is surrounded by market towns and is close to the historic city of Norwich and within easy reach of the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.” [from the Hales Barn]

HH Accommodation

Remaining Buildings of Hales Hall

According to local information the Hall itself was demolished around 1700 leaving only the gatehouse and adjoining domestic building.

Remaining Hall

The Gatehouse

groom and bride

The Happy Couple in the Rain