Built in 1730, Farrs has proved an ideal setting for John Makepeace, the furniture designer, and his wife Jennie to create an inspiring home, garden, design studio and gallery. John and Jennie have designed what is now a stunning curved garden, bounded by ten foot walls and towering yew hedges sculpted into an abstract outline. As luck would have it, the garden is at its best in September. After coffee on arrival, Jennie will conduct the garden tour and then John will show us around their home, talking about trees, timber and furniture design and showing us their collection of paintings, ceramics and silver.
We will then lunch at the very popular Brassica restaurant in Beaminster after which a 5-minute coach trip will take us to Parnham House (pictured right). This is a beautiful Grade 1 Elizabethan manor house, where the owners have kindly given us permission for a private tour. A deer park, terraced formal gardens leading down through topiared yew to the lake, historic garden buildings, and a densely-planted walled garden are some of the treats ahead. The tour will be conducted by Simon Johnson, who designed the gardens for the present owners. The house is rarely opened to the public, but the owners have kindly offered us tea in the Great Hall after the tour.
Two-handled cup and cover,1736/37, silver. Charles Frederick Kandler (died 1778). Museum number S64A-B
Vanessa Brett is co-curating the Holburne’s forthcoming exhibition Silver: Light and Shade with Catrin Jones, Curator of Decorative Arts. Vanessa lives near Bath with her husband William Parker. Her most recent book, Bertrand’s Toyshop in Bath: Luxury Retailing 1685–1765, published in 2014, was described by reviewers as ‘delightful and idiosyncratic:’ a genuinely fresh and original contribution to social history’. In this year’s Robertson lecture Vanessa will discuss the central role of silver in society and the challenges that face contemporary silversmiths.
7-13 June 2017 – Overseas Visit: A Taste of Portugal