Monday, 21 July 2008

Sat 19th July: Charleston House

The ladies (Me, Vicky & Anna) went on a Saturday field trip to Charleston house. It was home of the Bloomsbury Group's artists Vanessa Bell and Duncun Grant since 1916 with various changes of inhabitants (their interchanging lovers and offspring). They free-hand painted every surface in the house aswell as using thier own textile designs to upholster. Its such an inspiring and magical place to visit. The tour explains how the duo left presents for each other in the form of a portrait on a bed head or still life on the reverse of a door panel. The best description is written by Vanessa's grandaughter Virgina Nicholson:

"Charleston was a place where, for both children and adults, messy creativity was a way of life....Art was something that everyone could do. Paint and clay, mud, glue and matches, were all endlessly available. ...There is a wonderfully uninhibited, irreveverent quality to the decoration of the house which is that of a child let loose to experiment and which is extraordinarily liberating. Part of the exhilaration that people experience from looking at the brilliantly colourful designs that crowned the Charleston walls and furniture, comes from that sense of confidence and fearlessness. The Charleston artists did not deal with caution. What if the surfaces weren't properly prepared? What if there was rising damp?...Their creative wells never showed any signs of drying up, so if the table top decorations wore out, they could always just paint some new ones on top....."

Its a great time to go as there are numerous Duncun Grant paintings on loan to Charleston until November as it is the 30th anniversary of his death. These are dotted around the rooms and help add to the story told by the tour guide........

Photography is not permitted in the house so here is a snap from the book and exterior thanks to Anna Leader

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