Once a year my Embroiderers Guild has a day out instead of our monthly meeting, so on Monday we travelled by coach to visit Blackwell House which is situated near Windermere in the Lake District. This meant we had a lovely scenic drive up through the Yorkshire Dales and then into the Lake District and the sun shone all day too…
Blackwell is an Arts & Crafts house, I’ve been fascinated by the Ats & Crafts movement for years, I love the work of William Morris and his contempories so I was really interested to visit the house. We had an excellent talk and tour by one of their volunteer guides and we were also given a useful leaflet which explains the Arts & Crafts movement…
‘The Arts & Crafts movement was one of the most influential design movements of modern times. During the late 19th century there was a resurgence of interest in hand-made crafts, encouraged by William Morris and John Ruskin. Ruskin lived near Blackwell on the shores of Coniston. Arts & Crafts artists and supporters were passionate about keeping traditional handicrafts alive during the early days of mass production.
Arts & Crafts architects used local materials, building traditions and craftspeople to create buildings that were in harmony with the surrounding landscape and architecture. Designers…used organic shapes, colours and patterns to bring architecture and people closer to nature. They looked at every detail as part of the whole – from the door handles to the chairs.’
Blackwell was designed by Baillie Scott for a wealthy Manchester family who wanted a holiday home! It is situated just above Lake Windermere and unusually it’s main facade is facing south away from the lake. Baillie Scott designed it that way to maximise natural light, rather than having a lake view.
The interior is beautiful, lots of wood paneling and huge inglenook hearths with seating either side of the alcove. You can imagine during the cold Lake District winters they were a snug place to be.
The wood carvings were beautiful, these were screens high up in front of the minstrels gallery situated above the inglenook. I leaned out and took the photo pointing back, it captures all the detail of little birds amongst the trees and nests in the branches.
There is a theme running through the design details of rowan berries and bluebirds. The rowan can be seen on these wood carvings going all around the walls of the main hall.
There were lots of stained glass windows, often just little ones either side of the chimney, but they were beautiful, almost Art Deco in places. The bluebirds can be seen in many of these.
Many of the fires had a few decorative tiles too…
I loved the detail in the ironmongery, all the window catches were beautifully designed, all the door handles and even bolts were part of the overall image.
Outside in the garden were some pretty borders with a gorgeous wisteria, it did make me think I want one, to help cover up our big fence!
The house is also used as an exhibition space for ceramics, you can see a few in the photos above. There is also a fascinating ‘thing’ in the garden. I wondered what it was from the house as it is a big blue construction which kept getting in the way of my photos! When I explored the garden I realised it was a sort of natural kaleidescope. Inside a tube there were lots of mirrors to make several different images, here’s one of the lake..
All in all it was a lovely day out, Blackwell is a fascinating house, it has a lovely cafe too in which I had a slice of the lightest Victoria sponge ever!!