We were delighted to welcome back Mary Greensted to the Winchcombe Archive Collection, this time to give a talk on the craft furniture of the Cotswolds produced in the interwar years. Mary is currently pulling together with two associates a biography of Ernest Gimson, and it was the latter that generated perhaps the most interest, notably his design and construction of Stoneywell Cottage in Leicestershire (see contemporary interior image immediately below).

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Created by Gimson for his own use as a summer residence, it is a building (now National Trust owned) that nestles into its landscape, built designedly in harmony with its surroundings. This fascinating image of its original interior is a great object lesson into the aesthetics of the time.  Redolent of the simple life, it is consciously under furnished, a quiet manifesto for rural asceticism.

What fascinates me is its physical manifestation of fundamental tenets of rurally and historically inspired aesthetics.  If in the 1920’s, Cardew was living the country life in Winchcombe, and Sutherland and Drury picturing the rural idyll in their Palmer inspired etchings, then this looks to be the distillation of those ideals into the ‘right sort’ of country habitation in which to live this dream.

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