Open Day - Lewes House

The strange life and extravagant times of the Bloomsbury Group in Charleston and Monk’s House has been well documented but it is not so well known that Lewes was the epicentre of another group of contemporary eccentric aesthetes, ‘the Lewes House Brotherhood’ led by the American heir Edward ‘Ned’ Warren. Warren bought Lewes House, currently home to the Lewes District Council, in 1890, and lived there, making numerous trips abroad, until his death in 1928. He formed a group of friends around him, who were put up in the mansion, and each lent an Arab stallion, stabled on the premises. The most trusted of these friends was John Marshall; another frequent visitor to the house was Auguste Rodin, who was commissioned to sculpt the most famous of his ‘The Kiss’ statues in Lewes.

Marshall dedicated his life to the collection of exotic antiques and statues, most of which were purchased in Greece. He used Lewes House, as well as other properties including what is now Shelleys Hotel, to showcase and store these works before selling them on or donating them to museums and galleries, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan in New York. Notebooks currently in Lewes House catalogue all these works, with painstaking descriptions of each one, in Marshall’s own hand. It is unlikely that Virginia Woolf ever visited Lewes House: the group were severely misogynistic, didn’t allow women into their circle, and dubbed themselves ‘homosexualists.’ AG


Lewes House, by Duncan Fry, one of its regular visitors in its more
exotic days

Where?
Lewes House, School Hill, Lewes
When? See page 17
How Much? Free
 
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