In the centenary year of the death of Philip Webb (1831-1915), we are celebrating the life and work of this remarkable architect and designer. The National Trust looks after the two Webb-designed houses that are open to the public, Red House and Standen.
An exhibition has just opened at Red House showing a group of objects once owned by Webb. These items were recently accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax on the estate of the architect John Brandon-Jones and allocated to the National Trust. They include Webb’s architect’s drawing instruments.
Also in this group is a snuff box owned by William Morris, who commissioned Webb to design Red House.
Red House was the architect’s first commission and was completed in 1860. Morris and Webb were both at the forefront of the Arts and Crafts movement, reacting against the excesses of Victorian industrialisation and advocating a return to honest craftsmanship and local materials.
Webb also designed some of the furniture at Red House, such as the refectory-style dining table acquired by the National Trust in 2007.
Webb originally wanted to become an artist, and he was a sensitive draughtsman. In 2013 the National Trust purchased four drawings of animals by Webb for the Arts and Crafts collection at Wightwick Manor.
Red House, which was acquired by the National Trust ten years ago, is slowly revealing more of its secrets, such as a pre-Raphaelite wall painting and an early Morris-designed floral pattern.