Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


Leave a comment

Blackwell: An Arts & Crafts Masterpiece

Blackwell Exterior -®LATBlackwell 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.)  The house is of international importance and was given a Grade 1 listing in 1998.  So, although it’s quite expensive to visit – 2017 Admission prices : £8.80 Adults (without donation £8); Children up to 16 and full time students Free – it is DEFINITELY worth the money if you are interested in the Arts and Crafts. The last family I recommended the place to stayed all day!

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?

BW dining room stained glass -®LATThe 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.

Blackwell The White Drawing Room -®LAT

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.

Every day, 10.30am – 5pm. Tea Room open from 10am Winter closing time: 4pm (Nov – Feb). Closed 25 & 26 Dec and probably first 2 weeks of January 2018.

Further details can be found by visiting Blackwell’s own site here.


William Wordsworth

Apart from wandering the Fells and spotting the daffodils, there are two excellent houses to visit associated with Wordsworth.

After University at Cambridge and a spell living in Dorset, in 1799 Wordsworth now aged 29 moved back to the Lake District to Dove Cottage in Grasmere; and in 1813 he moved six miles East to Rydal Mount,a house between Grasmere and Ambleside, where he lived until he died in 1850.  Both houses can be visited and are about 20 miles from our cottage.

Rydal_Mount_-_geograph.org.uk_-_959824Rydal Mount is a privately run house with beautifully landscaped gardens shaped by Wordsworth.  Their website can be reached here.

Dove Cottage is the home of The Wordsworth Trust, an independent charity, set up to preserve the house and its neighbouring buildings.  The Trust also looks after works by Wordsworth and other writers and artists of the period.  At the heart of this collection are the manuscripts that Wordsworth’s descendants donated in 1935 so that they could remain at Dove Cottage.  The Trust has an excellent programme of exhibitions and activities.  Their website can Dove_Cottage_-_geograph.org.uk_-_70618be found here.


Go Herdwick

A lovely new arts trail raising money for a local charity will go on display from 25 March this year.  60 models of Herdwick ewes, each decorated by a local artist and sponsored by a local ewefirm will be displayed around Keswick, Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and Windermere.  The animals will be placed in public places and follow the route of the 555 bus service.

In September the flock will be rounded up for a gala auction in October.

We are particularly pleased to see that a favourite local artist of ours, Jo McGrath, has one to paint.  She plans “… to use the sheep raddle powder we use on our Herdwicks at Yew Tree farm, to mix up an acrylic paint to use to sheep-hatdraw /paint designs of herdwicks onto the main herdwick model. The designs will be applied in such a way that they will look like the sheep model is marked with traditional ‘smit’!”  To have a look at more of Jo’s work, click on this link for her website. I posted another blog about her here.

Money raised will help fund redevelopment of Old Windebrowe, the Calvert Trust’s grade 2 listed farmhouse and tithe barn, which is thought to date back to the 1550s and was once used as a home by William Wordsworth.  The Trust provides adventure holidays for people with disabilities and plans to use the centre to provide specialist accommodation.  If you would like to know more about the Trust and its campaign, click here.

 

 

 


Ruskin at Brantwood

John_Ruskin,_1882

In 1871, when Ruskin was in his early Fifties, he purchased – on impulse and unseen – a dilapidated house on the shores of Coniston Water.  This became his main home for nearly 30 years until his death in 1900.  Ruskin’s love of the Lakes started as a child.  His parents travelled to Scotland every year and always broke their journey in the Lake District.  When he bought it, Brantwood was little more than a cottage; Ruskin altered and enlarged it, including the lovely lantern set in the corner of his bedroom.

Here, he could experiment with his gardens.  He built a reservoir, and redirected the waterfall down the hills, added an ice house, and enlarged the harbour, from where he rowed his boat, the Jumping Jenny.

Brantwood is now a museum, exhibition space and arts centre with a rather splendid cafe, The Jumping Jenny, and is a favourite day out of ours.

If you want to find out what’s on Brantwood.org.uk has all the details.

Across the Water, the Ruskin Museum in Coniston is a fascinating Cabinet of Curiosities, crammed full of wonderful objects and paintings inspired by Ruskin’s love of geology, botany and the Lakes.  It also includes a special exhibition on the Coniston Bluebird and Donald Campbell.  Click here for more information about the Ruskin Museum.


Arts Round Up for the New Year 2016

2015-AH-Canaletto-HAbbot Hall, Blackwell House and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere are all favourite trips out for us when we are staying at Sykehouse Cottage.  I sometimes think people forget about these fine museums in their haste to get up a mountain …

Abbott Hall Art Gallery in Kendal have the fabulous “Canaletto: Celebrating Britain” running until 14 February 2016.  “Canaletto makes you feel as if you’re wandering around with your eyeballs cleaned.” Robert Clark, Guardian Guide Oct 2015

Abbot Hall Art Gallery: until 14 February 2016

2016-Laura-Ford-HThen from 11 March, both Abbott Hall and Blackwell will be showing “Laura Ford: Sculpture and Drawings”.   Located at Blackwell on the lawns, with select pieces in the main house and at Abbot Hall, this exhibition will comprise Ford’s earlier work together with new sculptures.  Laura Ford describes her work as sculptures dressed as people who are dressed as animals, as they meld together ideas of childhood memory with a disturbing edge.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery: 11 March – 25 June 2016
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House: 11 March – 4 September 2016

fillThe Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere has  its “Shepherds to Charabancs” exhibition running until 28 February.   Subtitled “Changing Life in Grasmere 1800 to 1900” the show has been inspired by a recent addition to the museum an 1859 survey map of Grasmere.  Curated by The Grasmere History Society the exhibition explains the transformation of Grasmere through local stories and brought alive with objects belonging to local residents as well as maps, artefacts and images from the Wordsworth Trust’s collection.

The Wordsworth Museum : until 28 February.

Abbot Hall, Blackwell House and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere are all favourite trips out for us when we are staying at Sykehouse Cottage.


Dorothy’s Christmas Birthday

dorothy-wordsworths-christmas-birthday-978144727150501

“Up, rapt at her gate,
Dorothy Wordsworth ages
one year in an hour;

her Christmas birthday
inventoried by an owl,
clock-eyed, time-keeper.”

It was published as a small hardback book by panmacmillan in 2014 and is a perfect Lake District Christmas present.


Windermere Weekender

Windermere Weekender

boats_with_legs08A Celebration of Boats, Steam and Stories from Windermere Jetty at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House: Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 August, 10.30am – 5pm

Our very favourite Arts and Crafts house is planning a marvellous weekend of interactive arts and crafts for the last weekend of August.  In the grounds, there will be innovative sculptures, live music, craft activities, and a large scale creative weaving project and much more.

A great fun Lancaster-based theatre company called Inner State who seem to specialise in “Boats with Legs” will be performing and Dan Fox’s Sound Intervention will be creating some marvellous sounds.

Admission includes entrance to the house, exhibition and all activities.  Adult £8.50 (without donation £7.70), Children FREE.  More details about the event, click here.