As part of the Philip Webb centenary, the colleagues looking after Standen have made available a few historic images of this Webb-designed country house.
Standen, completed in 1894, is a rare example of a virtually unaltered Webb design.
Webb also designed many of the fixtures and fittings, which were then combined with lighting by W.A.S. Benson, wallpapers and fabrics by Morris & Co and furniture, and furnishings and works of art by other Arts & Crafts designers such as William de Morgan, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
The house was built for James Beale (1840-1912), a wealthy solicitor (visible standing on the far left in the family photograph above). The Beales were a Unitarian family who had been active in the business and civic life of Birmingham.
James Beale’s work in facilitating the growth of the Midland Railway brought him to London, but in 1890 he also bought land in West Sussex with a view to building a country house for his family.
Webb was known for his beautiful and well-designed but sober buildings, and he had a reputation for staying withing budget – all factors that must have appealed to the cultivated, high-minded Beales.
James Beale’s wife, Margaret (1847-1936) was an expert needlewoman, and her taste is reflected in the many Arts & Crafts textiles in the house.
Webb remained on friendly terms with the Beale family. In 1902 he retired to a cottage in Worth, ten miles west of Standen.