William Morris was an influential designer and one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement – that started in Britain before becoming a world-wide phenomenon. This is the house where the movement started.
‘Arts and Crafts’ rejected plain mass produced household furniture and fittings in favour of ambitious, creative and bespoke designs for everyone – from tiles to wallpaper to soft furnishings. The movement took it’s inspiration from a group of young artists known as the Pre-Raphaelites; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Millais, William Holman Hunt and Edward Burne-Jones.
Red house was designed and built by William Morris and Philip Webb in 1859. It is the place where Arts and Crafts was ‘incubated’ – and the early designs were created prior to the formation of Morris and Company – the leading design company if it’s day. And enormously influential to this day.
Red House was a bohemian hub of this artistic community, one that rallied against the social norms of Victorian England. Here, William and his wife Jane hosted extended visits by the Pre-Raphaelites, their wives and partners. The house is packed with original collaborative work by Morris, Burne-Jones and Rossetti – many of the pieces were gifts to Morris by his friends. Since the house came under the control of the National Trust of England in 2003, many areas of the house have been conserved – yet x-ray analysis shows that much remains to be revealed.
The beautiful garden is planted with traditional British flowers, such as cornflowers and roses, in what as originally an ancient orchard. Perfect for a stroll after some home cooked food from the on-site cafe.