Reading Red House

Mural painting

This Christmas Red House will be exploring the idea of literature as craft, focusing on medieval tales and the work of the pre-Raphaelites. Fri 8 Nov - Sun 15 Dec, Fri - Sun.

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 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.

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


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 Georginana Burne-Jones meticulously kept diaries and memoirs have been turned by us into a poem of a house, projected in the Dining Room. Follow in their footsteps and find our have-a-go workshop on creative writing.

Climb our stairs at Red House decorated for Christmas
Red House Stairs at Christmas
Climb our stairs at Red House decorated for Christmas


Traditional decorations


In good old Red House style, we’ll be decorating the house in festive dried hops and lavender in the spirit of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites tradition of celebrating Christmas like a medieval household. But keep a look out, you might find some literature themed decorations along the way as well…


If you pop in to Red House in October, you might even be able to help us make some of these decorations!

Listen to stories of traditions past, from our Father Christmas
Olde Father Christmas at Red House
Listen to stories of traditions past, from our Father Christmas


Christmas events


As if all this wasn’t enough, we’ve got some great Christmas and Wintery events to keep you busy. From our first ever Museums at Night opening 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. Gardensm 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. .