I was hoping that the last day of my recent pre-raphaelite quest to London would be lovely. I travelled to Bexleyheath to visit William Morris’s (and Phillip Webb’s) Red House. I also hoped to tread some paths that the real Lizzie trod. All wishes came true.
The sun shone. The house looked magnificent.
A picture of Lizzie painted on the cupboard in the hall greeted me as I walked into the house. An unfinished mural of hers awaited behind a cupboard in Morris’s bedroom.
These were sad echoes. Following her miscarriage, Lizzie wandered these paths and rooms rocking a phantom child asking all to “hush, you’ll waken it.”
Fortunately I was in a much better frame of mind and found the whole place utterly charming, particularly the gardens and the selection of poems that were hanging from the trees, including a couple from “If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he’s weaving tapestry he had better shut up” Morris himself.
Were these part of the temporary exhibition currently on show at The Red House? An exhibition which earned disapproving comments from the guide. It was too modern, I think.
I have to say I loved the playfulness of it – the poems, plaster apples scattered on the lawn … not so sure about the woodworm though!