Monday, 31 August 2009

Charleston, Bloomsbury in Sussex. Part 1

Last weekend, my sister and I visited Charleston in East Sussex. It turned out to be a very special day, with so much to to take in, almost too much stimulation for the senses and emotions! An incredible place. As I am not sure where to start, in this first post I will simply share some photos of the house, gardens & grounds, and quote from one of the information leaflets as background. In the next post, hopefully I will be able to assemble enough photos and information about the inside of the house and the its unique ambiance and sense of history, as unfortunately, photography was forbidden once inside.

'Charleston is a seventeenth century house in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countyrside. In the years following 1916 it became the home of the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and their unconventional household.
From the moment they arrived, Bell and Grant set out to embellish the house, influenced by the style of Post-Impressionists such as Cezanne and Picasso. They took painting beyond the canvas, decorating walls, doors and furniture, ceramics and textiles, transforming the house itself into a work of art.
Within the walled garden the artists created a colourful summer haven for playing and painting, filled with vibrant flowers, mosaics, ponds and sculptures.
Charleston was also a country home for Bloomsbury, the influential group of artists, writers and intellectuals. Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Roger Fry and Lytton Strachey were frequent guests, while John Maynard Keynes and Clive Bell had rooms set aside for their use.
Today, Charleston is the only complete example of the domestic decorative art of Bell and Grant anywhere in the world; its rooms encapsulate their pioneering, creative and bohemian lifestyle.'


  1. I was so excited when I arrived here and saw the Charleston/Bloomsbury post!!!!! Wow! Unbelievable. I feel as if I have been there many times walking those grounds. It sings, absolutely sings. How fortunate you are to have access to this kind of history. It is my dream to visit someday, and hopefully in the near future. I will eagerly await the next post. Too bad they will not allow photos inside, but I guess that is pretty standard. I love the horizontal sculptural piece by the water. Isn't that so lovely and unusual? Thank you so much Lois for this incredible treat. It was worth the wait to see those photos.

  2. I am thrilled that you are so excited, and apologise for my dull text! My brain has been in over-drive since the visit, but I have felt incredibly inarticulate, and unable to express myself properly, as the visit turned out to be surprisingly emotional for me. I hope to be able to share with you some of the inerior ambiances via some of the superb images available, and my reactions or responses to the various beautiful domestic scenes encountered along the way! We also discovered a tiny, ancient village Church nearby with an interior entirely decorated by Duncan Grant, and were able to take photos. That will come later!

  3. I entirely understand how you would be emotional visiting this place. I think I would have had to be carried away in some delirious state of bliss. I loved your descriptions and photos. It was absolutely wonderful, and I felt as if I had been with you in some way. I would love to see the church interior. Wow! I will eagerly await more when you get some time. Thank you! Thank you!