Visit the House
Red House allows us a glimpse into the life of William and Janey Morris and their family. Surrounded by orchards this was Morris’ rural idyll where he could attempt to fulfill his dream of ‘transforming the world with beauty’.
The large entrance hall holds one of the highlights of the collection; a settle designed by Philip Webb, architect of the house and decorated with a mural thought to be by William Morris and Dante Gabrielle Rossetti. It shows the beginnings of Morris’ love of pattern through intricately detailed clothing that many of the figures are wearing.
More of Philip Webb designed furniture dominates in the Dining Room, a large dresser, originally dragon’s blood red stands at one end. Next to it an embroidery of Aphrodite, made by the talented hands of Janey Morris and her sister Bessie Burden.
This modest room was known to have been William and Janey’s bedroom. Although small in size it would have been rich in decoration. Wall hangings would have given the room warmth and the walls were painted by the couples' friends. Uncovered in 2013 from behind a wardrobe is part of this original decoration showing figures from Genesis painted as if hanging on fabric.
" I got my friend to build me a house very medieval in spirit in which I lived for 5 years, and set myself to decorating it."
It is in this room that we can best glimpse the Red House that William and Janey would have known. Remnants of patterns long hidden by later owners can be seen and boldly surrounding another large dresser is the set of three wall paintings that Edward Burne-Jones painted for William and Janey as a wedding present.
This space which opened in 2015 tells the story of Morris’ friend and architect of Red House, Philip Webb. On display are many of his architectural drawing tools and his well-travelled Gladstone bag.
With many secrets still to tell Red House is a treasure chest of pattern and colour waiting to be discovered.