A Visit to Kettle's Yard Art House in Cambridge, UK

in travel •  8 months ago

Kettle’s Yard, a house museum in Cambridge, is somewhere that I used to visit on a regular basis and was the creation of Jim Ede, once a curator of the Tate Gallery in London. When he created Kettle’s Yard he wanted to share the art and objects that he collected over a fifty year period or more with students and others, thinking that these artworks could be better appreciated in the intimate surroundings of a home. For the last two years this space has been closed for renovation, with the foundation building a gallery, cafe and shop to coincide with the house itself. So last weekend was the first time it’s been open in a while and I decided to go along and photograph the interior and objects. It’s a beautiful space.

Continued below

In 1957 Jim Ede converted four derelict cottages in this area of Cambridge and made the house an open space for all to visit. Throughout his career he had gained the trust of many contemporary artists, including Ben and Winifred Nicholson, as well as sculptors such as Brzeska, Brancusi and Hepworth, also knowing painters Miro and Braque. He was a friend of many artists and would often exchange writings with them, some of which can be found in his home in the library section and can be touched and read. Quite incredible when you think about it.

This space is unique in the fact that you can relax in the open areas, and although they are converted cottages that connect to one another it's amazing how much space there is and how peaceful the environment is. Jim actually wrote about space being an important part of his thinking when designing this build, he wanted to create rooms that give a sense of ease and freedom, he certainly achieved this in this timeless home.

The art is stripped back and minimal, which matches with the style of the home. When being built the property was completely emptied at first, nothing but the bare floor and walls could be seen. After they carefully considered what to add and take away, only keeping the essentials so the rooms looked aesthetically pleasing but also functional and comfortable for him and his wife to live in on a daily basis.

As a designer this space is obviously inspiring for me. Not only did Jim design and curate the life he desired, he was able to show the true beauty behind these objects through our everyday lives, letting us study these handcrafted objects and artworks up close and get personal with them. It’s extremely unusual and is very rare to see such artworks on display. You can just sit down, relax and enjoy the rooms.

Kettle's Yard is completely free and also now has a gallery space that can be enjoyed as well as the house. I reccomend anyone who ever visits Cambridge to go here. I found that tourists don't really know about this location, as there are plenty of interesting places in the city centre, but this is only a short walk and is a very unique experience.

Click here to find out more about Kettle's Yard in Cambridge →


More from my Travels:

Exploring Naoshima - A Visit to the Lee Ufan Museum
Naoshima - Tadao Ando's Concrete Walls
Exploring Osaka - Inside the TRUCK Furniture Showroom
Exploring Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Gardens
Exploring Tokyo - A Visit to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa
Exploring Kyoto - Tenryuji Temple & Grounds
Exploring Kyoto - A Visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine


Please follow me for more interesting art, design and travel content @oen

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Looks delightful… I'll have to have a visit when I'm back in England and round Cambridge way!

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Hey Adam. Yeah, please go! It's free and is a good experience. Certainly one of a kind :)

What beautiful contemporary designs its a mixture of things that I see kind of reminds me of an art loving farm house, the fire and the chair by it look so old but cozy but I also see flickers of modern day living. Very interesting post.

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Thanks for the comment @crazybgadventure. Yeah, it has stayed very modern throughout the years, even though the design was early 60's or 70's. Pretty cool!

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Wow. I really wish I would have had the time to visit Kettle's Yard when I was in Cambridge. Your photographs are great and really emanate a calmness that the space appears to provide to visitors, as it must have when Ede was alive.

On another note, I'm a big Hepworth fan and hope next time I'm in England to head to Cornwall to see the Tate Museum there.

Thanks for sharing such a lovely place. I'm resteeming this post.

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Thanks for the really nice comment @sarahvain. Yeah, Hepworth is amazing. You should also check out the work of Henry Moore. His house and studio is near Cambridge too, it's a great experience if you can go. Cornwall is also incredible. Have fun! :)

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I'm very familiar with Henry Moore. I actually studied and wrote about public art in my past life in the art/museum world - I'd love to go to his home! Sadly not trip to the UK in the near future planned from the US :)

Heya, just swinging by to let you know you're being featured in our Daily Travel Digest!

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Wow, so happy. Thanks for supporting me :)

@oen, your photos are incredible. Looks like this post could be in a magazine!

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Thanks @sumatranate! :) I try my best :D

@oen, your photos are incredible. Looks like this post could be in a magazine!

Wow. Such a nice space and so good that it is free! I have been to Cambridge twice. Can't believe I missed it. Great photos.

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Hey @snooway. Yeah, it's really great. It had been closed for 2 years due to renovation, but is back open now. If you're ever back in Cambridge please give it a visit. It's a short walk from the city centre area :)

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