At Kettle's Yard Jim carefully positioned these artworks alongside furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects, with the aim of creating a harmonic whole. His vision was of a place that should not be "an art gallery or museum, nor ... simply a collection of works of art reflecting my taste or the taste of a given period. It is, rather, a continuing way of life from these last fifty years, in which stray objects, stones, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used to make manifest the underlying stability."
Kettle's Yard was originally conceived with students in mind. Jim kept 'open house' every afternoon of term, personally guiding visitors around his home. In 1966 he gave the house and its contents to the University of Cambridge. In 1970, three years before the Edes retired to Edinburgh, the house was extended, and an exhibition gallery added.
Today each afternoon (apart from Mondays) visitors can ring the bell and ask to look around."
So (after intending to for about a quarter of a century) today I did. I found the door in a little alleyway, gingerly clanged the bell and waited to be admitted. It was a gorgeous sunny day in Cambridge and I just about had Kettle's Yard to myself. You are encouraged to sit in the chairs, read the books, (but don't touch the displays!). I did feel slightly self-conscious making myself at home in this treasure-house, but it is so welcoming, calm, serene and all-round delightful, that it's easy to fall into the fancy that it's your own. The light is wonderful, the floorboards silky-soft, everywhere there are stunning artworks, casual/careful displays of pebbles, shells, driftwood (I do so LOVE a nature-table), little joys and surprises at every turn. I was going to describe it as slightly spartan, but it's really nothing of the sort, though there are no lavish creature comforts. This magical home greets you, surrounds you, comforts you with beauty and easy charm. I just can't wait to return.