This was our first visit to the seemingly unassuming farmhouse nestled amongst the shadows of the South Downs but it certainly won’t be our last. Home to artist Vanessa Bell and her very modern family, the house is an incredible example of limitless artistry and craft.
While from the exterior the faded plaster tones of the Farmhouse appear quite simple and ordinary, as soon as you step through the entrance-way you are met with an abundance of pattern, colour and exploration. Every door, architrave, table and lampshade has acted as the canvas for both Bell and her lover Duncan Grant during their time living at the farmhouse. A sense of great freedom and fluidity spans across all designs, yet with an underlying sense of geometry and order through the chaos. Particularly this is felt when Grant’s designs are interpreted by his mother through her needlepoint work and these pieces reinforce the geometric and repetitive nature of Grant’s designs.
Our favourite furniture piece has to be the clean profiled, rattan dining chairs that was a piece for Grant’s inspired interiors collection called Omega Workshops. It blew our minds to think that this contemporary clean lined piece was designed in the 1910’s. And the materiality is especially relevant today with rattan and woven furniture pieces proving so popular right now.
To say our visit to Charleston was inspirational is an understatement. Through further visits through the seasons we look forward to discovering different artworks, patterns and articles that the Trust exhibits. It’s a fascinating example of truly living and breathing your craft and the free-spirited nature of the Bloomsbury family is felt in every corner of every room.