My parents are staying with me in order to do various southern things, including the Olympics and a family wedding. Taking a break from wall to wall sport on television we took ourselves on Saturday to Kelmscott Manor, the country home of William Morris. It’s a beautiful house, and now that it has electricity and indoor plumbing, has definitely joined my list of houses I’d be happy to live in. It is as full of beautiful Arts and Crafts movement objects and art as one might expect, but one of my favourite things was actually the beginning of a letter quoted in the small explanatory exhibition about the history of the house, in which Morris talks about his house-hunting. It opens, “I have been looking about for a house for the wife and kids”. It’s just so magnificently prosaic compared to my mental image of the Pre-Raphaelites*, but I suppose though not a beautiful sentence it is at least useful.
*And I speak as someone who likes Pre-Raphaelite art.