Recently restored, Blackwell was built in 1900 as a holiday retreat for a wealthy Manchester brewery owner, just south of Bowness overlooking Windermere. (About 30 minutes drive from Sykehouse Cottage on the eastern side of Windermere.) The house is of international importance and was given a Grade 1 listing in 1998. So, although it’s quite expensive to visit (£7.20 Adults; Children up to 16 Free), it is DEFINITELY worth the money if you are interested in the Arts and Crafts.
It is a truly wonderful example of Arts and Crafts architecture, with many original decorative features still intact and there is a school of thought that Blackwell is such a complete vision precisely because it was built as a holiday home in the Lake District rather than a day to day residence. Think about it: who could live up to the designer’s perfect vision 24 – 7?
The rooms are carefully furnished with the blend of Arts and Crafts and early country-made furniture advocated by Baillie Scott, containing many pieces by the leading Arts & Crafts designers and studios – furniture by Morris & Co and Voysey, metalwork by W A S Benson and ceramics by Ruskin Pottery and William de Morgan.
The curators want you to experience this first hand and, deliciously, visitors are encouraged to sit and soak up the atmosphere in the beautiful fireplace inglenooks and are free to enjoy the house as it was originally intended, without roped-off areas.
The house also run a series of well curated exhibitions and displays, usually with an Arts and Crafts feel, throughout the year and have a lovely Tea Room.
The first show of the year is called New Glass – Ancient Skill, Contemporary Artform. With a selection from the UK and Europe, the selling exhibition includes the work of established and emerging makers as well as drawings, models and photographic documentation of processes. Works will be shown in the exhibition galleries and through the house itself. The show is the first collaboration between the Lakeland Arts Trust and the Contemporary Glass Society and runs from 31st January to 12th May 2013.
Further details can be found by visiting Blackwell’s own site here.