Monday 6 October 2014

Charleston House, East Sussex

Another day, another artists' garden. This time Charleston House, that remote farmhouse used by some members of the Bloomsbury set as respite from their town life.
I know some of you aren't keen on the various personalities involved, and you may have a point, however they did create a lovely living and working environment, and I've long wanted to experience it for myself. 
The main inhabitants were Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and David Garnett. Vanessa and Duncan had a daughter together. Duncan and David were lovers. David eventually married the daughter of Vanessa and Duncan, Angelica. Poor girl wasn't told who her real father was until she was 18. She grew up believing her father was Clive Bell, her mother's husband.

I seem to be turning into the kind of person who shares juicy gossip over the garden fence. 

I sound a bit flippant about it, but actually I was shocked and rather put off them.
Why don't we take respite from all these shenanigans by admiring some blooms of Bloomsbury? 
That's another homemade frock there. It was a pair of curtains we inherited when moving in to this house, then it became a rather unflattering kaftan, so I remade it into a romantic looking frock. 

It's a really lovely, soft fabric, there's plenty of tummy room for eating and you can wear wooly tights with it to transform it into an all year round outfit. That ticks a lot of my boxes.
The interior of the house was decorated by Vanessa and Duncan as an art project and it really is full of charm, character and colour. However, visitors are not allowed to take photos, so you just have to absorb it and appreciate it in the moment.
I really enjoyed their approach to interior design: experimenting with painting pieces of furniture, and murals on the walls and doors. There's a mish-mash of furniture, patterns, colours. They embraced imperfection and that fits in with my aesthetic.
Glorious colour on a late summer afternoon.

The ladies in the shop and house at Charleston were all dressed in a really arty way. Long grey hair with bright red lipstick, big funky jewellery, unusual dresses, possibly homemade. They looked wonderful.
This is where we stayed: a beautiful little cabin at the bottom of a lovely lady's garden, found on airbnb. Have you tried it yet?


Connie said...

I have a little book about the Bloomsbury Group that I love to look at for inspiration. How amazing to visit the actual Charleston House. And you look just as pretty as the garden in your flowery dress. I'm kind of afraid of airbnb!

mondoagogo said...

Another gorgeous garden, and lovely pics, what a riot of colour!

Curtise said...

Such a very pretty house and garden. And such a very pretty you in your lovely rosy frock! From curtains to kaftan to dress, I think that fabric is in its final incarnation now, but who knows? Could end up as hot pants and cushion covers yet!

There's certainly a lot of gossip to be had with that Bloomsbury lot, but your example of poor Angelica tells a sad story, I think. I'm not sure there is a happy ending when you marry your father's gay lover. For all the open marriages, the freedom from convention, and the fluid sexuality, there wasn't much honesty where she was concerned, was there?

What a delightful cabin you stayed in, you look as though you felt very at home, you've even got your slippers on! xxx

freckleface said...

Couldn't agree with you more Curtise. Poor Angelica wrote a book called Deceived with Kindness about her upbringing. She also fell out with her family, unsurprisingly. It's difficult to defend their behaviour. Xxxx

Vix said...

Look at how beautiful you are reclining on the sofa! Never mind the chalet, I reckon you should have moved into the gorgeous house instead. Its frustrating when they don't allow indoor photos - like the stunning Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton - but looking at the garden I can tell that its utterly spellbinding.
How horrible for Angelica to find out that her husband was her father's one time lover. Poor love.

Fiona said...

You've sold me Charleston Tania, why have I never visited before?
The gardens are glorious, so cottagey, nicotianas and dahlias in abundance. I think I'd like the inside also as I too embrace imperfection, oh yeah. Poor Angelica, even though she must have had a very bohemian upbringing, how would she get over discovering her husband was once her dad's lover...Eeurrgh! Your frock is simply a triumph in every way. x

Miss Magpie said...

Bloody gorgeous curtain frock! you are too clever for words.

Krista said...

You ladies make me wanna move to the UK! I tend to like a bit of gossip working from home will do that to you:). The garden is just beautiful but you Tania stand out among all these images, looking just gorgeous in that red dress. I am a fan of airb2b such a cute place you stayed!

Lally said...

Oh I have so enjoyed your last three posts! I've never visited any of them but all three have been on my list of must dos for a long long time! Charleston looks particularly delectable (even if it is a terrible story- I was pretty horrified when I first read about it too!) Such a shame you couldn't snap pictures inside but I suppose it made the experience all the more special. Anyway thank you! You have re-ignited my desire to visit. Xx

mispapelicos said...

Look at you in full bloom, my dear friend
I love, love old English gottages.
Tons of loveeeeeeeeeee

Optimistic Existentialist said...

What a beautiful house and garden! Wow...

Helga said...

I'm endlessly fascinated by this lot, such a web! I've read various bios about various ones, and O how I long to visit!
You frock is gorgeous, and you are just such a beauty.