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Archive for June 2008

What’s in a house?

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Last weekend I went to the William Morris house in Bexleyheath with my Dad. The Red House is a ‘new’ National Trust property, acquired just five years ago and as a result it is rather barren. That is not to say that it is not beautiful; the walls are covered in wallpapers, textiles and murals from the Arts and Crafts movement but there is a striking absence of furniture. Furniture that would have been present during Morris’s time there, but is currently held elsewhere.

This raises some interesting questions about the rightful ownership of artefacts. Should all the pieces be collected and restored to the Red House to provide a more accurate representation? Or should they remain in locations across the South that were also significant to Morris’s life? The latter is the more likely scenario as galleries and museums do not give their collections up easily, and yet shouldn’t we try to preserve historic landmarks as best we can? It seems that the desire to own significant pieces can often have a negative impact on conservation. Yes, holding many of these pieces at the V&A enables easier access, but surely it is better to take the time and travel to the places where the pieces were once used.

Kate W

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Written by pilotlight

20/06/2008 at 10:38 am

Posted in design

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