On Thursday  21 May, a lovely sunny morning, our group set off on our trip to Sussex on our British Art at Home day. First stop was Charleston House, from 1916 the home of Bloomsbury Group artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and their unconventional household. Pioneers of early 20th Century British art, Bell and Grant created a hub of artistic and intellectual activity at Charleston. Home also to Clive Bell and John Maynard Keynes, guests included Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey, T.S.Eliot and E.M.Forster.

After our one-hour guided tour of the house and its artworks we enjoyed coffee and biscuits in the Barnyard Café and a walk round the walled garden before leaving for an excellent lunch at The Cricketers’ Arms at Berwick. Some of our group took the opportunity to visit Berwick Church, which features murals by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Our afternoon visit was to Farley Farm House, home of the Surrealist Roland Penrose and his equally famous photographer wife Lee Mille. The house features not only Lee Miller’s photographs and Roland Penrose’s artworks, but also their collection of contemporary art treasures, many of which were created by their friends and visitors including Picasso, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Paul Eluard and Joan Miro. The gardens at Farley Farm House feature a collection of sculptures which we were able to enjoy in our own time.

After the gloomy weather of the preceding days we were so lucky to have perfect weather for our visit to the Sussex countryside. Many thanks to our Visits Secretary, Michele Robinson, for arranging such an interesting and successful day.

The Group at Charlston House

Charleston Group