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Red House

William Morris commissioned Philip Webb to design Red House in 1859. It was Webb’s first independent architectural work and Morris’s first and only commission. In 1860, after one year of construction, it was complete. In his design, Webb looked to the vernacular buildings of the Sussex and Kentish Weald and chose red brick for the fabric and red tiles for the roof. The windows were chosen to suit individual rooms and not to create external symmetry; the result is a quirky mixture of tall casements, hipped dormers, round-headed sash-windows and bull’s eye windows. Inside, the jewel-like interiors include murals by Burne-Jones and other artists based on medieval romances and Greek myth; stained glass windows designed by Burne-Jones and Webb in a medieval style; and an exposed red brick fireplace laid in a herringbone pattern, which was to become a popular Arts and Crafts motif.

Visitor Information

Address:
Red House Lane,
Bexleyheath,
London,
England,
DA6 8JF

Telephone: 020 8304 9878

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/red-house

Red House, London

This collection has 139 items online

The only house commissioned, created and lived in by William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, makes the house of extraordinary architectural and social signficance. There is a collection of original features and furniture by Morris and Philip Webb and stained glass and paintings by Burne-Jones. In August 2013 it was announced that major conservation work had uncovered an entire wall painting by William Morris and his pre-Raphaelite artist friends Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his wife Elizabeth Siddal, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown. The painting, designed for what had been Morris and his wife Jane’s bedroom, depicts Biblical figures: Adam and Eve (with the serpent), Noah (holding a miniature ark) and Rachel and Jacob (with a ladder) and is designed to resemble a hanging tapestry with the illusion of folds (NT 60191). Also among the discoveries are areas of wall and ceiling decoration by the same group of friends and artists, revealing some of Morris’s earliest known decorative patterns (NT 60147 and NT 60227). Visitors to Red House can now see these new discoveries for the first time. Funding for the conservation was received from the Wolfson Foundation, a private donor and Trust funds. Further detailed research and analysis are now being undertaken.

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