Home Tours: Kelmscott Manor In The Cotswolds

The architecture of Kelmscott Manor is woven into William Morris’s 1890 novel, News from Nowhere, in which a journey exploring utopian ideals in a post-industrial world leads, after much wandering, to a ‘many-gabled old house built by the simple country-folk of the long-past times’. There is no ‘extravagant love of ornament’ here, only a feeling that ‘the house itself and its associations was the ornament of the country life amidst which it had been left stranded from old times’. It is a poignant vision that underlines both a respect for the past and an ideal of a new society based on mutual interest and support.

Jeremy Musson, May 15, 2022

Today, this old stone-built farm house is best known as the Morrises’ country home, from 1871. First leased as a retreat from busy London life, it became a vital point of reference for Morris, as artist, designer and poet; it was his ‘Heaven on Earth’, and a source of profound emotional and artistic inspiration.

Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire

Fig 2: The first-floor Tapestry Room, with a carved 1660s chimneypiece, is hung with a late-17th-century Oudenarde tapestry. Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire. ©Paul Highnam for Country Life

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