Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Morris Treasures Saved From Rising Waters

Via The Guardian, 1 August 2007:

"As the floods recede, tales of selfless heroism emerge. At Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, once home of the Victorian arts and crafts pioneer William Morris, staff and villagers stepped in to rescue tapestries, furniture, and works of art as water seeped up through the floor. And they did more: with the neighbouring village cut off from the outside world, the manor's manager, Tristan Molloy, took to a boat to deliver supplies from the manor's well-stocked restaurant refrigerators to local residents."


Says the Society of Antiquaries (London), which owns and manages the property:

"Prompt action by Kelmscott Manor's curatorial staff has ensured that unique works of art made by William Morris have been saved from flood damage at the Oxfordshire home of the arts and crafts movement founder.

"Tapestries, furniture, and paintings were rescued as water lapped at the steps and seeped through the floor of the historic manor house, described in Morris's Utopian novel News from Nowhere (1890) as 'the only house in England worth inhabiting.'

"While the village of Kelmscott was rendered inaccessible by three feet of water, the Manor’s on-site managers, Jane Milne and Tristan Molloy, battled to raise heavy furniture onto palettes and move irreplaceable works to safety, including the important 'Cabbage and Vine' tapestry, woven entirely by Morris himself, and a portrait by Dante Gabriel Rossetti of Morris's wife, Jane, called 'The Blue Silk Dress.'

"Jane Milne said they had been helped enormously by residents from the village; in return Tristan Molloy toured the village in his homemade boat dispensing food from the Kelmscott cafe to neighbours who were left without electricity for two days as a result of the worst floods in the area since July 1968.

"Water levels are now described as stable. David Gaimster, General Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London, said: 'Clearly we won’t know the extent of any damage to the fabric of the building until the water has receded and a proper assessment can be made, but everyone is very relieved that Jane and Tristan are safe and the collections have escaped damage.'

Shown here: Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire


Trish said...

That is so very cool. I just love how such things can bring people together in good ways. I grew up on a river that floods quite often, and went through similar and far worse situations, so totally understand...

The Vapour Trailer said...

Bravo indeed! Couldn't bear to think of the tapestry woven by the man himself might have been ruined. A little bit of welcome relief to brighten my day.

crmhpfan said...

Is there an image of the Cabbage & Wine tapestry?

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