Philip Webb's office opening at Red House

Philip Webb's Paint Box at Red House, Bexleyheath

From April 17 you can see for the very first time a newly opened room and hear the story of William Morris and Philip Webb's collaboration and the culmination of their work: Red House.

The original room

From clergyman to architect and then to artist, Morris regularly changed the direction of his career. While Red House was being built he saw himself as an easel artist which we know from the census entry of 1861.

As an artist Morris would have needed a room to greet models, prospective clients and patrons and so on the plans of his 'forever home' he added a waiting room.

Sadly Morris' career as an easel artist was short-lived. There is only one known easel painting by Morris Le Belle Iseult which he completed in 1858. It featured his soon-to-be wife Janey Burden as a model and has written on the back

" I cannot paint you but I love you."
- William Morris

This was perhaps the realisation that his artistic talent did not quite match up to those of his peers Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones.

The room today

After many years of the room functioning as an office for National Trust staff it is now being opened for the first time. From a generous loan of items from 7 Hammersmith Terrace the room has been transformed into an interpretation of Philip Webb's Office.

Come and find out about Morris and Webb's friendship and how they concocted the idea of Red House together while on a boat trip down the Seine.

" We understood one another at once"
- William Morris

Red House was Webb's first independent commissions and he worked closely with Morris, who had moved into the nearby Aberleigh Lodge to oversee progress, together they built the famous red brick house you can see today.

The room is now furnished with a variety of Webb's belongings including an impressive plan chest which he designed himself, his windsor chair and a beautiful mahogany wine cooler.

The room opens to the public from 17 April and runs alongside an exhibtion on Philip Webb and his work.