• 7 November 2017
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre

Fellows Lunch by Tessa Wild (Collections Adviser at Houghton Hall, Assistant Director of the Attringham Summer School and a trustee of the Emery Walker Trust).

Red House, Bexleyheath, Kent, was the only house commissioned by William Morris and the first independent architectural work of his close friend and collaborator, Philip Webb. Morris moved to Red House as an ebullient young man of 26, with an independent income and a head brimming with ideas and the persistent question of how best to live? For five intense years from 1860-65, it was a place of halcyon days – happy family life, loyal friendship and the jovial campaign of decorating and furnishing the house and designing the garden to meet his emergent taste for strong colour, complex pattern making and medieval inspired furniture and gardens. Drawing on recent research this talk will reveal the significant survival of Morris’s original decorative schemes and explore Red House's role as an ambitious and critical chapter in his design history, its influence on the founding of the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. and the vital collaboration of Webb, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and their circle in realising Morris’s dream for his house.

The Fellows Lunch Series is a series of free lunchtime research talks given by recipients of Paul Mellon Centre Fellowships. All are welcome but please book a ticket in advance.

Image: Detail of the figurative and decorative painted scheme by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, in the Drawing Room, Red House, 1860. © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

About the speaker

  • Tessa Wild is Collections Adviser at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, Assistant Director of the Attingham Summer School and a trustee of the Emery Walker Trust. She was curator of Red House from its acquisition by the National Trust in 2003 until 2015. In 2016, she was awarded a Paul Mellon Mid-Career Fellowship to undertake further research in preparation for her book, William Morris and his Palace of Art: Architecture, Interiors and Design at Red House (London: Philip Wilson, 2017)