Where It All Began

The Home Counties of Surrey and Sussex immediately to the south of London enjoy the distinction of having some of the best homes by the leading domestic Arts and Crafts architects. Houses designed just before and at the turn of the century by Sir Edwin Lutyens, C.F.A. Voysey, Baillie Scott, Thackeray Turner, and Philip Webb influenced future generations of architects. They were filled with furniture and fittings by the leading Arts and Crafts designers – extraordinary metalwork by W.A.S. Benson, furniture by George Jack, and the fabric and wallpaper designs of William Morris.

Built for the newly wealthy and emerging professional classes who either commuted to offices in London or used their homes on weekends, these houses are often still privately owned, sometimes by the families for whom they were originally built. This trip took us into many private homes and to two of the very best private collections in the entire country.

Another group of architects and designers, influenced by Morris’ idea of returning to the land, were living and working in the Cotswolds. Artists such as C.R.Ashbee and his Guild of the Handicraft, Ernest Gimson and Sidney and Ernest Barnsley, Norman Jewson and Morris himself left the cities for this rugged but exceptionally beautiful countryside. The houses they built and the objects they created for themselves and their friends express and illuminate another aesthetic within the Movement.