Larkspur at Standen

The Larkspur bedroom at Standen

Philip Webb (1831-1915) took great trouble to design each room to exactly suit its intended use by the Beale family. He asked where each bed would be positioned, to ensure that doors were hinged so that the occupant of the room would not be in a draught. The Beales’ eldest daughter, Amy, aged 23 when the house was completed, asked Webb to design her a built-in wardrobe (uncommon at that time) with a mirror on the outside. Coat hangers and hanging rails were not used in the 1890s. The wardrobe has hooks for hanging some garments, though most were folded and stored on shelves.

Creation and Development

This Philip Webb fireplace in the dressing room is plain white but very striking in its design. A small trivet made heating a kettle of water possible. However, if a cup of tea was required this would be requested by ringing the bell for the servants.

Morris & Co.

This bedroom and dressing room were re-papered in 1937 with Larkspur wallpaper, named after the larkspur flowers on it. It was designed by William Morris in 1874.

Objects in Focus

Arts & Crafts Items

Gimson bedroom suite
The chest of drawers, wardrobe, bedside cabinet and dressing table are made of mahogany with cross-banded satinwood mouldings and silver loop handles. The set was designed by Ernest Gimson (1864-1919), an architect-designer who was influential in the Arts & Crafts Movement. He met Morris in 1884 and moved to London. He, with Morris and Webb, founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and the Art Workers Guild. Whilst working in London Gimson met the Barnsley brothers and after a number of moves they set up a workshop at Daneway in the Cotswolds which survived until Gimson’s death in 1919.

Larkspur bedroom at Standen, West Sussex
Larkspur bedroom at Standen, West Sussex
Larkspur bedroom at Standen, West Sussex

A Dream of Patience  Alice Havers (1850-1890)
This is a print of a beautiful card designed by Alice Havers. It won first prize in a Christmas card competition in 1882. It was used again in 1885 for the programme of a private performance of Act 2 of Patience, which took place at Sir W.S. Gilbert's home in Harrington Gardens, London. Alice trained at South Kensington, the Royal Academy, and in Paris. Alice Havers also illustrated the 1891 programme for Sir Arthur Sullivan's grand opera Ivanhoe at the Royal English Opera House. Prior to this she had illustrated the programmes for the original Gilbert and Sullivan operas at the Savoy Theatre for Richard D'Oyly Carte. The Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Patience (1881) at the Savoy Theatre, London, was the first theatrical performance in the world to be lit entirely by electric light. Patience is a parody of the Aesthetic Movement which came to prominence in the 1870-80s.

Beale Family Items

Embroidered picture
This picture of two birds, in the style of Henry Stacy Marks, is embroidered in silk.
It is believed to have been worked by Mrs Margaret Beale or one of her three eldest daughters, Amy, Maggie or Dorothy.

Emrboidered picture of two silk birds in the Larkspur bedroom at Standen, West Sussex
Emrboidered picture of two silk birds in the Larkspur bedroom at Standen, West Sussex
Emrboidered picture of two silk birds in the Larkspur bedroom at Standen, West Sussex

Satinwood bedroom Suite
These pieces, now in the dressing room, were used by the Beales at their London home before being brought to Standen. They were designed around 1870-1880 by Agnes and Rhoda Garrett. Agnes Garrett had two famous sisters: Millicent Fawcett GBE, a suffragist campaigner; and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman to qualify as a doctor in England. Agnes and her cousin Rhoda undertook architectural training, but as women did not practise as architects, they decided to become interior designers and set up their own company. They were very successful and in 1876 published a book of their design ideas. James Beale was a close friend and supporter of the Garretts.

Designed by W.A.S. Benson (1854-1924). Benson designed lamps and art metalware for Morris & Co. as w ell as running his own business in London. Benson was  a founder member of the Art Workers’ Guild, and took over  as Managing Director of Morris & Co. when William Morris died in 1896.

Designed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) 
Best known as a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of artists, Rossetti was also a founder member of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (later to become Morris & Co.) for whom he designed stained glass and furniture. He designed this rush-seated armchair in a ‘lyre-back’ design in the 1860s.

Chair from the Standen Collection in the Larkspur Bedroom
Standen Collection Chair in Larkspur Bedroom
Chair from the Standen Collection in the Larkspur Bedroom

Brass mirror
This brass mirror is Austrian, made about 1900. Contemporary with  the Arts & Crafts movement in Britain, the Vienna Secession was  formed in 1897 by a group of artists who resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists. This mirror is in secessionist style, also  known in Austria as Jugendstil.