Limnerslease The home of GF & Mary Watts

I mentioned in a post earlier this year, a trip I made to Watts Gallery situated in Surrey in the village of Compton, close to Guildford. The gallery houses the work of the famous sculptor & artist George F Watt and his wife Mary, also renowned for her own artistic work. Since then I had the pleasure of visiting Limnerslease, which was their autumn and winter home.

*The name Limnerslease is unusual, but the word ‘Limner’ is old English for artist, and ‘Lease’ is to glean hope for the future.  The new house included a large studio for George, as well as a studio for Mary.  Much of the interior was designed and created by Mary. 

When George died in 1904, Mary made Limnerslease her main residence and following her death in 1938 the house was separated into 3 separate dwellings.The Watts Gallery Trust has now secured the east wing of the house.  Importantly this is where George’s studio is located, so the Trust is working on a restoration to turn the house back into the residence that George and Mary would recognise.  The Trust continues to look into securing the remainder of the house.*

(*information taken from the Watts Gallery website where you can arrange to have a guided tour of this amazing property.)

It was a chilly morning in February when I made my visit, yet the moment I walked into the house I felt warmed by the sheer cosiness. The decor with its rich vibrant colour was so inviting.

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Stepping from the dark hallway we were lead by the tour guide through to a bright and sunny room where light was cascading through the long windows. Again full of colour.

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The room was sparsely furnished with Arts & Crafts furniture, and your eyes were drawn to a very colourful rug in the centre of the floor, which appeared to echo the plastered designs which once embellished the alcove in this room.

DSC08195The original plasterwork can be seen in the photograph below and the remains of its existence can still be seen today.

Beautifully carved sliding panelled doors separate the the hallway from the living room.

 

The plastered ceilings all have a story to tell ….but you will need to go on the tour to find out more!

This is only a taste of what there is to see at Limnerslease. I would highly recommend booking on a tour. Once you have finished the tour, head to the Mary Watts Studios to see more of her work amazing work and if you haven’t viewed the Watts Chapel yet aim for there too!

Watts Gallery are holding an open day on Sunday 16 September to view  the gallery and  studios from  11am – 5pm. Take advantage of this free day and whilst there why not book a return visit for a tour of Limnerslease! Follow this link for further information.

 

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Standen – An Arts & Crafts House

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One of my favourite places to visit each year is Standen House. The reason I love this property so much is because of the connection with William Morris. I have a passion for the designs he created – perhaps because of the rich palette of colours with their inspiration from nature which appeals to me, but for whatever reason, I never tire of seeing them.

This Arts & Crafts house and gardens is located in East Grinstead, West Sussex, England. Now managed by the National Trust, the property was built between 1891 and 1894 by the architect Philip Webb (a friend of William Morris) for a prosperous solicitor James Beale, his wife Margaret, and their family.

It is decorated with Morris carpets, fabrics and wallpapers, and the garden complements the beauty of the house. 

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I can only describe Standen as a very welcoming home. Each time I visit I feel a cosiness about it, as I wonder through its rooms…. if that can be said of a stately home!

 

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You can discover information about the Arts & Crafts movement through the beautiful collection of furniture, embroideries and pottery found within its walls.

 

William Morris …..

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.

I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.”

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The Beale family

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Image & info via The National Trust website

The Beales were originally a non-conformist family from Birmingham, with seven children and many more grandchildren. Standen became a real family home, wrapped up in idyllic childhood memories.

 

Estate & Gardens

The estate was formed from three farms which the Beales purchased in 1890. They started planting the 12-acre garden almost immediately using the site of an 18th century garden and orchard. In early 1891 trees were planted, a yew hedge established an the kitchen garden begun.

Webb chose a mixture of natural styles combining old-fashioned formality and compartmentalised gardens in the final design.

 

 

The resulting Arts and Crafts garden used local materials for its formal elements, and loose plantings amongst yew hedges, trellis and pergolas, emphasising, natural colour schemes and subtle combinations of colour and foliage, definitely complimenting the beautiful Arts & Crafts house.

 

 

Information about the collection at Standen, please go to http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk and search for Standen.

Remaining images taken by me