Sunday, 4 June 2017

Visit to an Arts and Crafts House.

Sunday 4th June, 2017 at Wombourne.
A lovely morning. M was awoken at 3:45 by the dawn chorus, which was musically spectacular due to being surrounded by trees and a nature reserve. "Beautiful", said M. "Zzzz" said R - but he did surface long enough to appreciate it before going back to sleep!
The sunny weather was not forecast to last beyond the morning, so we started out early in order for M to run the washing machine while we cruised the mile and two locks so we could moor up close to Wightwick Manor.
R put up the washing line, M pegged out the washing and we walked in to Wightwick Manor.
It is a National Trust property built in the 1870's in the Elizabethan style by the Mander family, who made their fortune making paints and varnishes. It's a wonderful house, frequented in its heyday by the pre-Raphaelites and furnished with original William Morris fabrics. The Mander family still live in part of the property but have given the majority of the house over to the National Trust. We loved it when we came her in 2014 and were keen to visit again.
We started with coffee and a snack in the converted stables behind the house. The horse stalls still had their water bowls and hay racks around the tables.
In the old Malt House, there was a magnificent exhibition of the paintings of Evelyn De Morgan and the ceramics of her husband William De Morgan. We thought that we would go and look, but probably wouldn't like the artwork much. How wrong we were! It was fabulous. Beautiful paintings, wonderfully executed in the Romantic style, much of it based on mythology and, typical of the pre-Raphaelites, full of symbolism - not to mention idealised, red haired ladies.
The centrepiece of the main house is a magnificent "mediaeval" hall and the whole house is full of beautiful furniture, paintings, tiles and wallpapers collected by the Mander family over the years.
The gardens are also lovely but sadly, we were too early for the roses, which are magnificent at the height of summer.
We just got back to MM in time to get in the washing, which had dried in the breeze, before it started to rain.
The locks hereabouts are very attractive. Dimmingsdale lock is as pretty as its name suggests. Awbridge lock has an unusual balustraded bridge.
A song thrush had serenaded us all the way from Compton; it can't have been the same one - he must have cousins all along the waterway!
Just after Awbridge lock, we moored up for the evening.

 At 9:45, we had an excellent sighting of the International Space Station.
The moon is at the bottom with Jupiter on the right and the bright "star" at the top is the ISS as it sped across from one horizon to the other in about seven minutes. (ps. I think I need to reset the clock on the camera!).

Today: 4 miles, 6 locks and 2.8 hours.
Trip: 36 miles, 21 locks and 18.1 hours.


  1. Note made of Wightwick Manor; I'd love to see the Wm de Morgan ceramics.

  2. The Wm De Morgan ceramics are spectacular but his wife's paintings are even more remarkable! very well worth a visit.
    Where are you these days?