What goes on behind the scenes at Standen House, an Arts & Crafts family home

Focus on – the drawing room

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My favourite room (along with all my other favourite rooms…)!

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The drawing room (before the Vine Hanging was moved!) (NT)

The drawing room is one of the biggest rooms of the house and one you would only see as a guest of the Beales’ if you were a friend rather than a social acquaintance.

Many servants wouldn’t see any of the principle rooms of the house, only the housemaid who was responsible for clearing the grate and laying the fire and making sure the room was clean and dusted. If you were the kitchen maid, for instance, you wouldn’t have seen any of the family rooms.

As with all our rooms the drawing room is a combination of Beale family items and later additions, mostly from Arthur and Helen Grogan, the first custodians who brought their Arts and Crafts collection to Standen to furnish it.

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An old photo of the drawing room (NT)

The current layout of the drawing room was inspired by this historic photo. You can see it shows a curtain at the end of the sofa to create a cosy nook. We also know that Mrs Beale’s chair and light were always in this spot, with her workbag (which is a modern creation!) hanging from it.

My favourite things in this room include the Vine Hanging, which was embroidered by Mrs Beale – unsurprisingly taking her around 6 years; the De Morgan bowl which was a 25th wedding anniversary present to the Beales from their children – which also inspired the Grogans to collect more De Morgan pieces for the house; and the magnificent Morris & Co. Merton Abbey Mills carpet. The latter you can appreciate even more now thanks to our Eyemat.

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