Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E

Architectural Drawing
1859 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Red House, designed for his friends William and Jane Morris, was Philip Webb’s first house. Designed in 1859 and completed in 1860, it is located near Upton, now Bexleyheath, Kent. Conceived as a family home and studio, Webb’s design was always intended to be flexible and easily altered to accommodate members of Morris’s circle. In 1864 Webb designed an additional wing, extending Red House to make room for Edward Burne-Jones and his wife Georgie. Webb’s initial proposal was deemed too expensive, so he also designed a second scheme at a reduced cost. Ultimately neither scheme of additions was realised due to both Morris and Georgie Burne-Jones suffering serious illness. Morris increasingly found the long commute to London impossible, and he sold the house in 1865.
The V&A has drawings for the initial design of Red House, and both subsequent projects. Writing in 1915, Lady Burne-Jones, referred to them as follows: ‘October 12, 1915. I am sending by Passenger train (tomorrow) the Plans for Red House (not the Red House as people will call it!) and for the additions to it which were dreamed of. There are seven sheets for each. You will see that Nos. V and VI for details of Red House are drawn on the two sides of the sheet, which is a pity. There is a small sheet belonging to the imaginary House, and I think it is a suggestion of a fresh treatment for the proposed additional House, not further developed. The sheet which divides Red House Plans from those of our Castle in the air has - as you will perceive - a rough jotting upon it of the way Red House stood and the front garden. In one of the Red House plans you will see written the names of flowers that are to be put in beds at the foot of the East wall and to climb up it. I do not know which of the friends wrote these, but remember how successful the laying out of the garden was, and that the house has never looked 'bare' .'
Today Red House belongs to the National Trust.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
pen and ink and wash
Brief Description
Design for Red House, Upton, Bexleyheath, by Philip Webb, 1859
Physical Description
Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour drawing showing details of a well covering for Red House, by Philip Webb.
Dimensions
  • Height: 53cm
  • Width: 65.7cm
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
P. Webb: Arch't July 1859 (Signed and dated)
Credit line
Presented by Lady Burne-Jones
Summary
Red House, designed for his friends William and Jane Morris, was Philip Webb’s first house. Designed in 1859 and completed in 1860, it is located near Upton, now Bexleyheath, Kent. Conceived as a family home and studio, Webb’s design was always intended to be flexible and easily altered to accommodate members of Morris’s circle. In 1864 Webb designed an additional wing, extending Red House to make room for Edward Burne-Jones and his wife Georgie. Webb’s initial proposal was deemed too expensive, so he also designed a second scheme at a reduced cost. Ultimately neither scheme of additions was realised due to both Morris and Georgie Burne-Jones suffering serious illness. Morris increasingly found the long commute to London impossible, and he sold the house in 1865.

The V&A has drawings for the initial design of Red House, and both subsequent projects. Writing in 1915, Lady Burne-Jones, referred to them as follows: ‘October 12, 1915. I am sending by Passenger train (tomorrow) the Plans for Red House (not the Red House as people will call it!) and for the additions to it which were dreamed of. There are seven sheets for each. You will see that Nos. V and VI for details of Red House are drawn on the two sides of the sheet, which is a pity. There is a small sheet belonging to the imaginary House, and I think it is a suggestion of a fresh treatment for the proposed additional House, not further developed. The sheet which divides Red House Plans from those of our Castle in the air has - as you will perceive - a rough jotting upon it of the way Red House stood and the front garden. In one of the Red House plans you will see written the names of flowers that are to be put in beds at the foot of the East wall and to climb up it. I do not know which of the friends wrote these, but remember how successful the laying out of the garden was, and that the house has never looked 'bare' .'

Today Red House belongs to the National Trust.

Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Karen Livingstone and Linda Parry, eds. International Arts and Crafts London: V&A Publications, 2005. 368p. : ill (chiefly col.). ISBN: 1851774467 (hbk)
  • P. 56Margot Th. Brandlhuber and Michael Buhrs, eds. In the temple of the self : the artist's residence as a total work of art : Europe und America 1800-1948. Munich: Villa Stuck, 2013. ISBN: 9783775735933.
  • Red House is discussed in detail in Sheila Kirk, 'Philip Webb: Pioneer of Arts and Crafts Architecture', pp.20-35.
Collection
Accession Number
E.64-1916

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record createdAugust 8, 2007
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