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Farleys Farm House (second visit)

Last Friday I arranged to take two friends, D & His wife L, – whose main home is Petworth – to Farleys, the home of surrealist painter Roland Penrose who founded the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Lee Miller, sometime Vogue cover model, international photographer and innovative cook.

Penrose and Miller lived at Downshire Hill before moving to Farleys in 1947.

There they invited and attracted the great and good of the art world: Pablo Picasso, the founder of the Museum of Modern Art Alfred Barr, and artists of renown like Mirò.

The house has been well-preserved with paintings by Pentose; ceramics by Picasso; a tremendous art library and cookery books.

We started the tour in the kitchen.

The guide did not mention that Picasso drew on the tiles above the AGA, only for the cleaner to wipe them away. Nonetheless there are still many artefacts – and at least three Picassos – to savour.

The house is run by Roland and Lee’s son Tony. One day he went into the loft to see if there were any early photos of Lee Miller and whether there was a resemblance between his mother and his daughter Amy.

There Tony unearthed all her negatives in a box which now form the basis of Lee Miller archive.

It showcases an extraordinarily colourful and eventful life, of which Kate Winslet is producing a film to be released this September. I hope it does her justice.

That this was my second visit did not affect my enjoyment.

The guide was thorough and the house tour extended 30 minutes beyond its allotted time.

After the visit, we had a hearty lunch at the nearby hostelry The Gun and enjoyed seeing the gorgeous rolling Sussex countryside.

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About Nancy Bright-Thompson

A widely-respected travel editor, Nancy is a past president of the Guild of Travel Writers (GTW). She and her husband Phil now run a horse sanctuary in East Sussex. More Posts