When I was researching Arts & Crafts furniture for Temptation, I came across the website for Rodmarton Manor in Gloucestershire, near Tetbury. It’s a home built in the early 20th century by a follower of William Morris, who really established the Arts & Crafts movement in England toward the end of the 19th century.
Here’s what the website says about Arts & Crafts:
The Industrial Revolution had devalued the work of the craftsman. The aim of the Arts and Crafts reformers was to reestablish a harmony between architect, designer and craftsman and to emphasise the importance of handcraftsmanship to the production of well-designed, affordable everyday objects with individual and regional expression, honesty of construction, simplicity, and fitness of purpose. Inspiration would be drawn from the past but with fresh interpretation and the quality of the material being used was emphasised with designs from nature.
The home is furnished with authentic Arts & Crafts pieces, including wall hangings made by local craftsmen. The furniture is very distinctive, featuring intricate carved details and patterns from nature. It was the first time I’d seen so many A&C pieces anywhere but in an antique shop.
After researching the furniture making craft, particularly Arts & Crafts, while I wrote and edited Temptation, I was a bit overwhelmed to see the real thing, in the “flesh.” I kept thinking, as I toured the house, “Wouldn’t Jacob have loved this desk?” or “This is exactly the sort of thing Jacob would make in his workshop!” There were even dove-tailed boxes, exactly like the one he gave Laura as a special gift.
Yeah, I know, Jacob isn’t real, but he came to life for me in that house, surrounded by furniture he’d have loved. I guess you never really forget your characters—they’ll always be a piece of you.
Photos weren’t allowed inside the house, but I took lots of photos of the gardens, below, which were magnificent. I also found a couple of photos on the website of Rodmarton Manor, which you can see here.
If you would like to visit Rodmarton Manor, it’s open from May to September, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2 – 5 pm. It’s not hard to find; it’s just south of Cirencester off the A433.
For anyone who loves Arts & Crafts, it’s a real treat.