Last week I was lucky enough to visit The Lake District for a few days to celebrate my birthday. As a lover of architecture and particularly the early part of the 20th Century, one house I was eager to visit was Blackwell, situated in Windermere. Designed and built during the Arts & Craft movement by architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, it is one of the finest examples of its type.
Built originally as a holiday retreat for the wealthy brewery family Holts, from Manchester, ironically, where I live, the house has been fully restored since being acquired by Lakeland Arts in 1999. Baillie Scott designed much of the furniture for the house, as was often customary, allowing the architect to have complete control. However although most of it was no longer within the house, various pieces have now been acquired, along with furniture by William Morris & Co, pottery by Ruskin and original tiles designed by William De Morgan, a leading Arts & Crafts designer and the house is once again a complete Arts & Crafts vision.
The rooms are a fine example of the arts and craft era, depicting carved and decorated surfaces, inspired by nature, flora and fauna, with copper lighting and door furniture and decorative tiles adorning the ingle nook fireplaces. The rooms nearly all face west where they make the most of the natural sunlight with the serene white room being the only one to face the lake. This was obviously a room for contemplation, reading and passing the time, taking in the magnificent view.
If you are lucky enough to be in this part of the country, Blackwell is a must see property, with regular exhibitions on the upper floor as well as a splendid cafe and gallery shop.