Thursday 3 February 2011

Other gardens 4. Charleston

Charleston House, East Sussex, England.

The artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant moved to Charleston in 1916 and their home became the country meeting place of the writers, painters and intellectuals who are known as the 'Bloomsbury Group'.
The house is decorated throughout in 'Bloomsbury' style, happily exuberant colour and pattern, slapdash delivery, joyful result, everywhere, on everything!

This area of the garden is enclosed by flint walls and the planting is generously blowzy. It has much the same feel as the interior of the house.

I visited in summer sunshine, just the right sort of day to enjoy the tumble of growth and the buzz of insects.   

There were many famous visitors to the house. The economist Maynard Keynes stayed for so long that a bedroom was always kept just for him. Vanessa's sister, Virginia Woolf lived just a few miles away from Charleston. 

Dora Carrington said,
"Never, never have I seen quite such a wonderful place!"

Sketch in a letter by Dora Carrington , 1922.                                   Virginia Woolf                                                                                 
Even if you are unable to visit the house and garden in person you can enjoy it at second hand by means of this delightful book.

The text is as enjoyable as the imagery. Note that that the nurse only "attempted" to educate the unruly boys!


  1. I have to say I never tire of looking at English gardens. They are just so beautiful. Every friday night here I watch an English show on tv called 'escape to the country'. Briefly it's about a family who want to live in the country and a realtor finds them 4 houses to chose from. I really enjoy looking at their gardens and I just love the cottages. I'd never even heard of a thatched roof before this show! I told my hubby if there's such a thing as reincarnation I want to come back in live in England in one of those cottages!!! take care, Maryann

  2. Oh God, Cher - what have you done? We'll never hear the last of this now from Cro and Groucho...

  3. I am so enjoying your garden tours. I am putting the fabulous book on my wish list. It looks absolutely lovely. I can't imagine where we are going next.

  4. Oh this is such a delicious feast for the eyes...I simply swoon looking at that home with the roses climbing up the front wall....I could live there all my days...
    thank you!

  5. Dear Mariondee, those cottages can have their problems. If your hubby is tall he could be banging his head on doorways and beams. And a bird built a nest in the chimney of my aunt's lovely thatched cottage. The chimney caught fire and burnt down the entire house.

    No worries, Tom, I can put up a good defence for a colourful, slapdash lifestyle - I was reared on it!

    Dear Bonnie and Hostess, now I'm going to take you to Greece.

  6. What a lovely tour...I miss England when I see places such as these.
    I think I'm going to just have to get that book!