Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire
Kelmscott Manor is a Tudor limestone property built around 1570. It lies adjacent to the River Thames in the village of Kelmscott, in West Oxfordshire, just under two hours from London.
It was the Cotswold home of the textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist William Morris who is recognised as one of the most significant cultural figures of Victorian Britain. He was an extraordinarily creative designer of pattern with a fervent belief in the power of beauty to transform human lives and was especially famous for his wallpapers and textiles.
He took up residence in the house in 1871, signing a joint lease with the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti who went onto have an affair with his wife, Jane. Morris was immediately drawn to the place which he saw as a work of true craftsmanship, totally unspoilt and unaltered, and in harmony with the village and the surrounding countryside. In fact, he considered it so natural in its setting as to be almost organic, looking as though it had ‘grown up out of the soil’, as he once described it. It’s beautiful gardens, with barns, dovecote, a meadow and stream, provided a constant source of inspiration.
It is furnished with an outstanding collection of his possessions and works, his family and his Arts & Crafts associates, including furniture, original textiles, pictures, carpets, ceramics and metalwork and most definitely worth a visit.
However bear in mind that it is only open on Wednesday and Saturdays.