Blackwell – The Arts and Crafts house, one of the Lake District’s finest historic homes is thrilled to announce its long-awaited return (10 October 2020), almost seven months since it last opened to the public.
The house, overlooking Windermere, is a rare architectural gem and offers a perfectly preserved snapshot of early 20th-century living. Designed by noted architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, this stunning Grade I listed building is one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts & Crafts architecture and with remarkable views towards the Coniston Fells, is a house that never fails to inspire.
Blackwell reopens with an exciting programme beginning with the display of a brand-new acquisition from renowned landscape artist, John Atkinson Grimshaw.
In the Golden Mists of Autumn, extends upon a growing theme within the Lakeland Arts collection of the effects of climate change captured in art. Grimshaw’s work will be displayed alongside works by J M W Turner, John Ruskin, plus recently acquired work by Emma Stibbon, and will explore the important role that art can play in documenting the ever-changing world around us. The painting will be displayed in the Oliver Thompson Gallery until 14 March 2021.
Kerri Offord, Head of Curatorial said: “Grimshaw’s atmospheric work is a fantastic new addition to our collection! It adds significantly to our collection of 19th-century paintings, and beautifully illustrates the effects of climate change over the last two centuries when shown alongside the works of Turner, Ruskin and Stibbon. We are incredibly grateful to HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax scheme for this allocation from Garth and Alison Doubleday.”
The Arts & Crafts house also celebrates the launch of YouCurate!, a new display of much-loved pieces from the Lakeland Arts collection. When M H Baillie Scott designed Blackwell, he did so in the spirit of a well-established and still relevant ethos: that art and beauty are essential for a good life. In the same spirit – and with Abbot Hall currently closed for redevelopment – there is now a dedicated space devoted to art chosen by Members, staff, and visitors, so everyone can continue to take pleasure from works that they’d otherwise miss.
In spring 2021, Blackwell eagerly prepares to introduce a new exhibition, The House of the Setting Sun, which explores the enduring legacy of artistic exchange between Britain and Japan.
This exhibition showcases the interchange of influence between traditional Japanese design and the British Arts & Crafts Movement. Visitors will experience a rarely seen collection of Japanese woodblock prints, as well as 19th and 20th century Japanese and British ceramics, and an exquisite Edo Period Kimono that has never before been displayed. The House of the Setting Sun opens on 26 March 2021 until 10 October 2021.
Lakeland Arts is a charity that aims to protect the Lake District’s cultural legacy. Over the past few months, the team has continued to work meticulously behind the scenes to protect and preserve Blackwell and the collection and put measures in place to reopen safely.
As is to be expected, there are new measures in place to ensure visitors and colleagues feel safe when they visit. These include additional cleaning measures, personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, hand sanitiser points, one way systems, refined capacity in the Tea Room, timed entry and a limit on the number of visitors in the house at any one time. Visitors will also be able to log their visit via the Government’s new NHS Test & Trace App and must use face coverings when exploring the main house. Full details of the Covid-19 Policy at Blackwell can be found at blackwell.org.uk.
Chief Executive Rhian Harris said: “We are absolutely delighted to finally welcome visitors back to Blackwell after such a long time away. We have had an enormous amount of support from the public and access to culture is so important during challenging times.
“Blackwell is a wonderful environment to take your first steps into the new normal. We’ve introduced new safety measures, notably timed ticket entry and limited capacity, to ensure that visitors can enjoy the peaceful setting of the house in a socially distanced manner.
“Our new acquisition In the Golden Mists of Autumn by John Atkinson Grimshaw and the YouCurate! display mean that visitors can after such a long time away, see great art in Cumbria and we are looking forward to introducing our new exhibition The House of the Setting Sun in Spring 2021.
“We continue to keep a close eye on government advice to ensure the safety of our visitors, and we will continuously review them in line with national and local guidance as they become available. We are grateful for our visitors patience as we make these essential changes.”
Ahead of reopening, Blackwell has launched a new website (blackwell.org.uk), following a rebrand of Lakeland Arts and its cultural venues, formally Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam & Stories, Abbot Hall Art Gallery and The Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry. The new website brings together all its cultural and heritage venues onto one platform and features a bold new design, digital access to collections and exhibitions at home, enhanced events pages for planning days out and streamlined ticketing options.
Tickets are available online by visiting blackwell.org.uk from 1 October. Check the website ahead of visiting to find up to date opening times, information on what to expect when you get to Blackwell and to sign up for the newsletter to be the first to hear news.