Detail of window hoods on front of William Morris's Red-House by Philip Speakman Webb

West front, the Red House designed by Philip Speakman Webb for William and Jane Morris. Designed 1859; completed 1860. Bexleyheath, Greater London. Photograph, caption, and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009. With special thanks to Sally Roberson of the National Trust at Red House. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]

The most noteworthy detail on the west front is the oriel window with the stepped brickwork beneath it. This was the window for the first-floor drawing-room, the main living-room on that floor, with its ceiling going right up into the roof, its tall red-brick fireplace, and its great settle with ladder and canopy overhead, creating a small minstrels' gallery which opens into the loft: "a typical mixture of the playful and the practical" (Red House 19). The fireplace in this room has a text over it, "Ars Longa Vita Brevis," such texts being another feature that A. W. N. Pugin had been fond of, and that proliferated in Victorian homes.

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Reference and Further Reading

Red House: Bexleyheath. Swindon: The National Trust, 2003.

Jordan, Robert Furneaux. Victorian Architecture. Harmondsworth: Pelican Books, 1966.

Morris and Company. London: The Fine Art Society, 1979.

William Morris. Ed. Linda Parry. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.

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Last modified 8 March 2009