Homes, houses and art in Britain 1900-1960

Course Dates: 27/04/23 - 15/06/23
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: Keeley Street
Knock on the door of artists’ houses and studios from 1900-1960 to experience exciting and visually dazzling spaces created over the course of their careers. At a time when artists were beginning to forge their own brave new visual worlds, this course considers what the homes might tell us about the artists and how they wanted their homes to be seen.
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Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £103.00

Course Code: VB658

Thu, day, 27 Apr - 15 Jun '23

Duration: 7 sessions (over 8 weeks)

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What is the course about?

At a time of intense, experimental, bold and adventurous artistic practice in 20th-century Britain, we will see how artists and patrons, many of whom belonged to artistic groups transformed interiors to become places where they could express their individual and radical styles. We will study how the homes of artists such as Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Roland Penrose and Lee Miller and Peggy Angus at Furlongs were designed and decorated.

We will also look at the objects, the painted walls, the furniture and fireplaces, the art they collected, the pottery and the books on the shelves and consider how they inhabited their spaces. We can then see what their homes reveal about their art and whether they were places to explore artistic ideas. As Virginia Woolf said to her sister just after Vanessa had moved to Charleston in East Sussex, in December 1916, ‘I do envy you, taking a new house – Nothing in the world is so exciting’.

We also spend a little time looking at diary or descriptive entries about these homes. We start by going back a bit in time, looking at Dutch 17th-century interiors and Kelmscott and The Red House, the homes of William Morris. We end by considering the home of the collector Jim Ede at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge whose house was a space to exhibit the work of 20th-century artists.

Each week will be a case study of a different home with discussion about the artists and their work. As case studies, the look and feel of artists’ homes including the Bloomsbury Group, the Surrealists in Britain, homes in Sussex such as Ditchling, near to the South Downs, the village of Great Bardfield in Essex where Edward Bawden lived, Lamorna in Cornwall, where artists such as Alfred Munnings and Laura Knight spent time and then Hampstead, where Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Walter Gropius lived.

What will we cover?

-The look and feel of artists’ homes and how they reflect artistic ideas and spaces
-Artists's design of their personal spaces
-Homes as a place of exhibition.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

-Identify the type of houses lived in by artists in the early part of the 20th century and consider how they made the houses into the homes that manifested their creative spirit

-Be able to make links between the appearance of art and artefacts in the homes with the sort of art the artists were making at the time

-Consider the influences on the spaces that were created.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with lecture, slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download via a Google Classroom.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list provided.

Emma Rose Barber

Emma Rose Barber is an art historian who has been teaching adults for over 25 years. She specialises in the visual culture of the Middle Ages and the Italian and Northern Renaissance. She has also taught classes on British art and has designed many different courses such as Last Suppers in Florence and Bosch, Breughel and the Surrealists. She has also given lectures on Women and Art. She used to run the history of art department at the British Institute in Florence and works for many institutions such as the Open University, Morley College and the department of continuing education at the University of Oxford. Her book – 111 Churches that you Shouldn’t Miss in London - is coming out in the autumn of 2020. She has spent the last five years with a Mini A-Z looking for churches to write about, many of which can be found on her blog – She is also writing a Cultural History of Wayfaring and writes articles for Selvedge Magazine.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.