Saturday, 3 June 2017

William Morris's country retreat

A couple of weeks ago when we were in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds for a wedding, we stopped by Kelmscott Manor on the drive home. Kelmscott village is a lovely, quiet village surrounded by far-reaching and lush agricultural land. But visitors come to Kelmscott primarily to see the country home of William Morris and his family.

It was such a beautiful late spring day- rain showers and bright sunshine- with a hint of early summer in the air. The manor house is handsome and some of the furnishings are very beautiful (large hangings depicting Morris's much loved Strawberry Thief chintz amongst them), but I really loved the garden the most. Iris, peonies, delphiniums and roses were blooming, showcasing the best that an English cottage garden boasts in early summer.

This is a portrait of Mrs Morris- painted in 1868 by Dante Gabriel Rosetti. It hangs above the family's ornate piano in a downstairs family room. It is much admired for the way the blue silk of her dress catches the light, giving it a luminous quality.

One of the very best items in the home are the bed curtains and pelmet embroidered lovingly by Jane Morris for one of her husband's birthdays. Helped by their daughter Jane, and Lily, the sister of poet W.B Yeats, it is an intricate and beautifully personalised gift. The bed is draped in a delicately embroidered quilt, done after William's death. In the corner of the quilt is a motif you would miss if it wasn't pointed out- Kelmscott Manor itself depicted in embroidery thread. The pelmet is stitched with the words of a poem that William himself wrote called, 'Inscription for an Old Bed.'

More details and image HERE.

The gardens were incredibly lush and full of new season growth. It was easy to get a sense of why the family cherished the property and surrounding countryside so very much.

Kate  x

No comments:

Post a Comment