Reading Red House this Christmas

This Christmas, Red House will be exploring the idea of literature as craft, focusing on medieval tales and the work of the pre-Raphaelites. Look out for our traditional decorations and our special Victorian Father Christmas in his green suit. From Friday 8 November to Sunday 15 December, Friday-Sunday.

From Chaucer to the Bible

When hand-decorating the walls and ceilings of Red House, the pre-Raphaelite brothers and sisters took inspiration from medieval and traditional tales. The Drawing Room wedding mural is from the Romance of Sir Degrevant, multiple characters from the Book of Genesis were discovered painted on a wall behind a wardrobe in the Morris bedroom, and the Pilgrim’s Passage is named after The Canterbury Tales. Join us at Red House from 1.30pm to listen to these literary muses for yourself and feel the inspiration.

The Tale of Sir Degrevaunt: The Wedding Feast by Edward Burne-Jones, 1860 / Red House NT 60140
Mural painting
The Tale of Sir Degrevaunt: The Wedding Feast by Edward Burne-Jones, 1860 / Red House NT 60140


Christina Rossetti, William Morris and Georgiana Burne-Jones

Not only were the pre-Raphaelites inspired by literature, but they crafted it. William Morris was a poet, Christina Rossetti wrote Christmas carols, and Georgiana Burne-Jones' diaries and memoirs have been turned into a projected display in the Dining Room.

Sketch of Christina Rossetti
Sketch of Christina Rossetti by her brother Dante Gabriel Rossett.
Sketch of Christina Rossetti

Traditional decorations

William Morris and the pre-Raphaelites celebrated Christmas like a medieval household, so we decorate Red House every year with festive dried hops and lavender. But keep a look out, you might find some literature themed decorations along the way as well…

Christmas window display at Red House with pine cones, lavender, hops and candles
Christmas window display at Red House with pine cones, lavender, hops and candles
Christmas window display at Red House with pine cones, lavender, hops and candles

Christmas events

As if all this wasn’t enough, we’ve got some great Christmas and Wintery events to keep you busy. From our medieval carol concerts to Olde Father Christmas in his traditional green suit, check out our Whats On page to see upcoming events.

Please note that Red House is open Fri 8 Nov - Sun 15 Dec, Fri - Sun. Gardens, shop and cafe open 11am - 4.30pm. The house is open by guided tour 11am - 1.30pm. Free-flow, including tale recordings and poem of a house projection, begins at 1.30pm, last entry at 3.45pm.