Charleston House is a small 18th century farm house just outside Lewes, famous for its past tenants and the legacy they left behind. The run down farmhouse was discovered by Virginia Woolf in 1916, who in turn suggested to her sister, Vanessa Bell, that she should make the place her new home. At the time Virginia and her husband, Leonard lived in the nearby town of Asheham, later moving to Rodmell, making Monk House their home.
Vanessa, an accomplished painter along with her two young children, fellow artist Duncan Grant (and sometimes lover) along with their friend, the writer David Garnett, began to transform the place. Taking their inspiration from the post modernist artist, they painted the doors wall and furniture, and filled the place with their paintings and ceramics; (Vanessa’s husband, Clive Bell joined his wife and their two children in 1939) bringing more art and antique furniture, filling the small farmhouse to the brim).
Charleston House soon became the meeting place for Vanessa’s creative family and friends including; Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, T.S. Elliot, Desmond MacCarthy and E.M. Forster. These meetings of minds would eventually become known as the Bloomsbury set, where the group would discuss radical subjects (for their time), including feminism, pacifism, and sexuality; topics that would go on to influence their artistic projects. Charleston House would also become the meeting place for Virginia Woolf and her lover, Vita Sackville-West.
In 1978, Duncan Grant, the last of the Bloomsbury Set, died aged 93. Soon after the Charleston Trust was formed, bringing the farmhouse back to its former glory, leaving one room as Grant had left it, making a visit to the place all the more rewarding.
Since then, Charleston House has been proud of it queer legacy. For the last four years Gay Heritage has put together LGBTQ events at Charleston house, encouraging the LGBTQ community to visit the house and grounds.
This year’s event is a showing of the film The Kids are Alright, hosted by Paul Burston, along with Brighton’s, Rainbow Chorus.
Prior to the film you are invited to partake in a glass of wine and some canapés, walk around the garden and explore Charleston House, before settling down in the Sussex barn to enjoy the film. Afterwards Paul Burston will chair a discussion of the film.
15th July 2011
The evening starts from 7pm – 9pm, £20, includes open house wine and canapés
Did you like this article? Please leave comment on blog page.