Kelmscott Manor

“ This is the time to see things afresh, to visit the old, with eyes on the new. 

Come to see this old house by the Thames , where new Art has been made and new stories begin…”

This sentence, announcing ‘A NEW EPOCH’ EXHIBITION AT KELMSCOTT MANOR IN PARTNERSHIP WITH WEST OX ARTS GALLERY (6TH-29TH OCTOBER 2022), gave me the important chance to discover and admire the beautiful treasures of this enchanting house. In short, I’ve recently become a member of West Ox Arts (Bampton) and this initiative was so fundamental in rousing my curiosity about Kelmscott Manor, the famous Cotswold retreat of William Morris, known all over the world as a Victorian textile designer but also poet and founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

PHOTOGRAPH BY Downton Gazette

Where is Kelmscott Manor?

First of all, here are some important details about this exquisite location:


Phone +44 (0)1367 252486

How getting there: this fabulous Manor is located along the Thames in the picturesque village of Kelmscott that is three miles from Lechlade on B4449. You can reach it by car or by walking/cycling along the Thames Path or by boat (the Manor has a private mooring). Or swimming, if you can…

Private mooring
PHOTOGRAPH BY Downton Gazette
Some narrow boats
PHOTOGRAPH BY Downton Gazette

Opening Times

1st April to 28 October

Thursday to Saturday

10:30 am to 5 pm


For Historic Houses Members( bringing their current membership card) : FREE

Adult : £ 14.50

Family:£ 34.50

For Groups: max 20 people . Please contact the Manor in advance.


William Morris, the manor's owner

As I’ve always thought that a house reflects the soul and the feelings of its owner,let’s introduce and discover the famous and eclectic William Morris.

“HAVE NOTHING IN YOUR HOUSES THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW TO BE USEFUL, OR BELIEVE TO BE BEAUTIFUL” said Morris, who pursued an ideal of art in which the maker derived pleasure from his artwork and was able to convey the same pleasure to the viewer. In effect he considered his house as a real HEAVEN ON EARTH, a result of a perfect work of brilliant craftmanship, set in a total harmony with the village and the landscape. Moreover Morris was fond of the romantic and incredible gardens that provided a sublime source of inspiration for his work and represented such a delight as much as the Manor, an awesome character in the plot of his artistic life.

The Gardens

Probably these gardens constituted a little and inspirational private world that divided him and his artwork from the outside and surrounding countryside. In fact these designs are reflected in William’s textiles in the Manor. And it’s important to remember that the SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF LONDON had a fundamental role in supporting and restoring the Gardens during the mid-1990s in order to recreate the particular atmosphere of Morris’s ages.

For clarification: large flowers with small infill, twining stems, deeply-incised foliage, abundant fruits. Well, it’s not a coincidence if Morris’s writings and letters mention CROCUSES, SNOWDROPS , VIOLETS AND TULIPS. Without forgetting the bright ROSES rolling over one another , the large YEW HEDGE clipped into a topiary dragon in the Front Garden and the awesome MULBERRY TREE. Finally , a particular kitchen garden, called the Lawn Garden, includes CARDOON AND HERBS .

Electrifying surprises

The majestic Nature surrounding the House makes a present of an extraordinary abundant of shining TULIPS, probably the beautiful wild tulips also known as the Persian TULIPS. And the Visitors can also taste the TEA LAWN’ s peaceful atmosphere just outside the Tearoom.


The Manor as a school of life

A particular chance of learning and having fun is absolutely assured to PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS and FAMILY GROUPS. The former are welcomed for creative Workshops and projects; the latter have the lovely possibility to play outdoor games or explore the estate guided by the Strawberry Thief and his friends…

The importance of this experience

At last we must underline the fundamental and cultural importance of visiting Kelmscott Manor:

1.Firstly, it’s a must-see and a fascinating opportunity to know and find out the stellar and ecletic artist William Morris, as you can imagine his presence all over the house and the surrounding nature. Born in Essex in 1834, his artistic tastes emerged by reading tales of chivalry and romance and thanks to his education at Oxford University. In 1861 he formed a decorating FIRM in partnership with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and other Pre-Raphaelite colleagues ,then he reorganized it under his sole direction . Finally, in 1890 he established the KELMSCOTT PRESS in order to issue editions of classic books (including Chaucer) by using decorative designs and ornamental letters.

2.Secondly, you can have a full immersion in ART during the impressive and awesome exhibitions organized in partnership with WEST OX ARTS GALLERY set in Bampton, a lovely and enchanting village best known as the real location of DOWNTON ABBEY VILLAGE

3.Finally, the Visitors will able to learn a GREAT TRUTH “the true happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. Wheter it’s the way the sunlight filters through the window in the morning, the sounds of birds outside, there is a Beauty and a joy to be found in even the smallest moment. So LET’S SLOW DOWN, PAY ATTENTION AND SAVOUR THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE LIFE WONDERFUL “ (KELMSCOTT MANOR, Instagram)

And, you know, that’s the same challenge described in the last powerful book by actor RICHARD E.GRANT: to find a pocketful of happiness in every day.

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Downton Gazette

The cultural blog Downton Gazette was created in 2022 and concerns whatever can be referred to DOWNTON ABBEY, of which it shares the brave motto :” You can change your life if you want to”( Mr Bates to Gwen, series 1). This website, also devoted to Theatre,Music and Art, supports the art activity of FONTANA SHELTER(in loving memory of the Italian painter Luigi Fontana), recently member of West Ox Arts Gallery in Bampton, Faringdon Art Society and Oxfordshire Artweeks.