The Tales of Lamb House

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A bust of Count Alberto Bevilacqua by Hendrik Andersen at Lamb House

There are many tales and objects of fascination at Lamb House, here're just a couple of those that we think you should keep a look out for during your next visit.

The Ghost in the Garden

On a hot summer’s day after lunch Fred Benson was relaxing in his Secret Garden with the Vicar of Rye facing its entrance into Lamb House’s garden when they witnessed:

‘…the figure of a man walk past this open doorway. He was dressed in black and he wore a cape the right wing of which, as he passed, he threw across his chest, over his left shoulder. His head was turned away and I did not see his face. The glimpse I got of him was very short, for two steps took him past the open doorway … Simultaneously the Vicar jumped out of his chair, exclaiming: “Who on earth was that?” It was only a step to the open door, and there, beyond, the garden lay, basking in sun and empty of any human presence. He told me what he had seen: it was exactly what I had seen, except that our visitor had worn hose, which I had not noticed.’

Taken from Final Edition Informal Autobiography by E.F.Benson (1940)

Will you encounter the fleeting apparition as you explore and relax in the walled tranquillity of Lamb House’s garden?

The ghost in the garden at Lamb House
The ghost in the garden at Lamb House
The ghost in the garden at Lamb House

The Welcome Return of the Perpetual Dinner Guest

In a letter dated 19 July, 1899. Henry James wrote to the artist and sculptor Hendrik Andersen, confirming the safe arrival of the bust of Count Alberto Bevilaqua recently purchased from Andersen’s studio in Rome. James installed the bust in the dining room at Lamb House and conveyed his first impressions:

‘… he commands the scene and has a broad base to rest on and the arch of a little niche to enshrine him, and where, moreover, as I sit at meat, I shall have him constantly before me, as a loved companion and friend. He is so loving, so human, so sympathetic and sociable and curious, that I foresee it will be a lifelong attachment. Brave little Bevalaqua …’     

The perpetual dinner guest at Lamb House
The perpetual dinner guest at Lamb House
The perpetual dinner guest at Lamb House

The Count has been reinstated in the Dining Room at Lamb House; imagine the sparkling dinner parties, illustrious literary visitors, and scintillating conversations he witnessed during both James and the Bensons tenures at Lamb House.