Monday, 3 September 2012
Exhibitions and Events: Charleston Gallery and Farmhouse
I happened upon Charleston almost by accident, I went to visit purely to see the work Rob Ryan was exhibiting there and decided to go on a tour of the house as well. Charleston was the home of the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, together with their friends collectively known as the Bloomsbury Group.
The rooms on display showcase unique examples of Bell and Grant's artwork, interior decoration and a collection of antique furniture and artwork gifted to them by friends and fellow artists. Something that resonated with me, was that almost everything was decorated. Walls were hand painted with elaborate patterns, lampshades were pottery creations by Vanessa's son Quentin, exquisitely patterned fabrics adorned furniture and windows, fire surrounds were painted in Vanessa's bright colour palette.
The garden was littered with mosaics, inside the house the panels of the doors were painted with murals by Duncan Grant. I couldn't help but be reminded of the William Morris quote: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Everything was beautiful.
Unfortunately photography wasn't permitted inside the house, but you can see official photographs here.
I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know that much about the Bloomsbury Group before visiting, but the communal spirit and as our tour guide put it, "the fluid lifestyle" of the artists, is somewhat appealing to me. Being surrounded by a constant stream of creatives has got to be somewhat inspiring, surely? If the art of Charleston is anything to go by, then the answer is, definitely.
If you'd like to visit Charleston, their website is full of the information you need. If it's your first time visiting, I'd recommend going on a tour - you find out so much more than you would if you were walking around it alone.