Red House Bexleyheath
London, DA6 8JF
The only house to have been commissioned, created and lived in by William Morris.
The building was designed by Philip Webb, with Morris taking charge of the decorative schemes. Many members of the Arts & Crafts movement made contributions – the stained glass is the work of Edward Burne-Jones, while Morris's wife Jane and her sister stitched the embroideries that adorn the walls. After its completion in 1860, Burne-Jones described Red House as 'the beautifullest place on earth'.
The house's secrets continue to be revealed; conservation work in 2013 uncovered an unknown Pre-Raphaelite wall painting by Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal, Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown. Designed for what had been Morris and Jane’s bedroom, it depicts Biblical figures: Adam and Eve with the serpent, Noah holding a miniature ark and Rachel and Jacob with a ladder. It was painted to resemble a hanging tapestry, and even has the illusion of folds.
The house is a work of art in itself; the collection consists of the wall paintings, furniture, stained glass and tapestries that were created by Morris and his pre-Raphaelite friends to decorate it. There are several quirky features to look out for – the group were obsessed with wombats and Burne Jones drew one in his Drawing Room wall paintings, while a 'smiley face' also emblazons one of the ceilings.