Blackwell Arts & Crafts House


Blackwell July 2017

We recently visited Blackwell, a Grade 1 listed building close to the shore of Lake Windermere and overlooking the Coniston Fells.  Designed by the architect Baillie Scott, it was built in 1900 as a holiday home for the wealthy Holt family. Imagine – a holiday home of these proportions! As if that wasn’t enough, the family also owned a 45 foot steam yacht.

Many will be familiar with the colourful  designs of William Morris. Along with social reformer John Ruskin he was a leading light in the influential Arts & Crafts movement which, as a backlash against the increasing effect of machines, advocated using local materials and traditional building methods with the aim of creating buildings that were harmonious with the surrounding landscape.  Baillie Scott  was hugely influenced by these two and it was he who was responsible not only for the design of the house but also the furniture, wall coverings and fabrics.

The Main Hall

Main hall

Unfortunately, whilst Blackwell retains many original features like leaf-shaped door handles, carved wooden panels and spectacular stained glass windows,  none of the original furniture or artefacts remains. The house, however, offers a few classic pieces from the period, some designed by Baillie Scott himself.

A beautifully carved frieze runs around the Main Hall


Four window panels. Unfortunately the day was overcast but imagine the sun streaming through and the colourful reflections on the plain walls opposite.

Window panels

Typical period designs may be seen on chinaware, a rug and a chair back 
Various Blackwell

This canvas stretches the entire length of the dining room wall (and the dining room would house the entire ground floor of my house!)Wall canvas

It was an enjoyable visit in terms of architectural interest but disappointing in that the rooms were very sparsely furnished and gave little idea of how they would have been presented at the time.   If this is a period you like, visit The National Trust’s Coleton Fishacre in Devon for a better representation.


  1. It’s a long time since I saw the house, and I love the stained glass. Keep meaning to look out for a class in making it, but always seem to get distracted.
    Interesting blog this, discovered after doing a google search for country lifestyle blogs. Glad I found you. Will be back.


    • Making stained glass sounds interesting. I really like glass work. Those window panels were fabulous. Thank you for your lovely comments, Maggie. Hope you will continue to enjoy my posts.


  2. Not visited this lovely property, but I do know of it and have seen it in magazines. Love all those Art Nouveau references, what a gorgeous place it is.
    Margaret P


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