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A Summer’s Evening at Charleston

We’d do anything for our favourite book shop, Much Ado Books in Alfriston, so when the owners Cate and Nash invited me to speak at Charleston house in East Sussex, I jumped at the opportunity.

Charleston house in East Sussex

It was the most glorious summer’s evening to explore the garden before my talk in the beautiful newly renovated barn.

It was a joy to speak about the ways in which I have been inspired by Vanessa Bell’s home, which was just a few steps across a small farm yard from where I was speaking.

I started my talk with a quote from Vanessa Bell’s sister, Virginia Woolf: ‘It is always an adventure to enter a new room; for the lives and characters of its owners have distilled their atmosphere into it, and directly we enter it we breast some new wave of emotion.’

I felt it was the perfect quote to reference as there is no doubt that Vanessa Bell’s artistic sensitivity is distilled into every room at Charleston. The house is so joyfully painted in a very distinctive colour palette that works so well in British interiors, with our depth of light throughout the seasons.

Vanessa Bell & Duncan Grant's studio at Charleston house

I also spoke about the thread of Bloomsbury design which is weaved throughout Charlotte Street Hotel, from the mural in the restaurant to original artworks and a specially commissioned rug inspired by Duncan Grant.

I was so pleased to meet so many interesting people, it made it a truly memorable evening – thank you to Cate & Nash and everyone who came along.

Paintings by Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry in the library at Charlotte Street Hotel in London
The library at Charlotte Street Hotel, inspired by the Bloomsbury Group
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