All ten of us met up at the excellent Middle Farm for essential refreshment stoking-up before embarking on serious stuff. Battleaxe and Philosopher used to go there when grand daughter Eve was very small. She used to love the chickens and other farm stuff. Or perhaps, looking at this old photograph, maybe she didn't love them quite as much as fond Granny remembers!
|Eve at Middle Farm 2003|
Next, to Berwick Church. Have never been there before.It is a pretty little church, heavily restored after bomb damage in 1940s (Bomb? Out there? How?).
This is the second church decorated by prominent twentieth-century artists I have seen recently. When we were in Cornwall we visited St Hilary Church, near Marazion, decorated by artists from the Newlyn Group, including Dod and Ernest Proctor, Norman Garstin and Harold Knight. Although I much prefer the Newlyn artists to the Bloomsbury Group, in fact Berwick Church is more attractive and interesting. Both churches had to face difficulties both with their dioceses and their parishioners in relation to the paintings, which were seen as over-ornate and un-Christian, and both churches suffered vandalism.
|Paintings in Berwick Church|
|View from the Churchyard|
They clearly enjoyed decorating, and painted many of the walls, doors, fireplaces etc. as well as the furniture. There was plenty to see - pottery, textiles - all sorts of things either made, designed or commissioned by the occupants of the house.There were many interesting paintings, by artists such as Walter Sickert as well as many works by Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry etc. They seemed very fond of painting each other.
Like many nineteenth/early twentieth century creatives and social reformers, the Bloomsberries were not short of money. As even our guide to the house remarked, it is much easier to be Bohemian and free-living if you have servants to look after things for you.
|Grace, who worked at Charleston for most of her life, painted by Vanessa Bell|
Unfortunately, by the time we had finished the tour, it was raining quite hard, and we did not really fancy spending time in the garden. However, most of the rooms in the house had garden views, so we had a good idea of it.
We occupied the tea-room, and ate a late lunch.
Not surprisingly, photographs were not allowed in the house, so here are a few pictures of the interior, and a few paintings, taken from the internet.
It was a good day out.
|Virginia Woolf - Vanessa Bell|
|Vanessa Bell - Duncan Grant|
|Angelica Garnet - Vanessa Bell|
|John Maynard Keynes - Duncan Grant|
I have just read that the BBC are producing a new drama series, much of it filmed at Charleston, based on the lives of the Bloomsbury Group. Life in Squares will be broadcast later this year.