If you head North East from Brighton towards Lewes, then turn right along the A27, you will come to a small village called Firle. It is here, down a long drive, where you will find one of Sussex's real treasures; Charleston Farmhouse.
It was to here in 1916 that painters Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell moved to set-up their studios. They painted the walls rather than buy wallpaper, and decorated cheap second-hand furniture bought from local junk shops. It was this 'frugality' and desire to decorate that has made Charleston the house it is today.
We were discussing Charleston, the Bloomsbury group, and other related matters over dinner last night, and of course out came my treasured book about the house. The book was co-written by Quentin Bell and his daughter Virginia Nicholson. Sadly Bell died shortly before the book was published, and in her 1998 dedication to me she writes 'from one of the authors, and in memory of the other, best wishes etc'.
The photo below shows Cro, yesterday evening, reading her letter to me.
The house has a fascinating history, everyone of artistic importance of the early 20th C visited, including Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, etc.
For me the best bit is the interior's painted furniture. One of the few bits not to be painted are Roger Fry's six Omega Workshop dining chairs. However, the table that they surround is painted; I suspect by Grant.
If you're in the area, the house is well worth a visit. It's not exactly Blenheim or Chatsworth, but if you're a Bloomsbury fan; your visit is essential. Check for opening hours.