Text: Edward Hollamby
Photographs: Charlotte Wood
Foreword: Sir Hugh Casson
Red House, designed for William Morris by his architect friend Philip Webb in 1858, is famous throughout the world as a seminal Arts and Crafts building.
While apparently unnoticed at the time of its construction, it nevertheless had such symbolic power that it later cam to be seen as the herald of a new age of honest, truthful and democratic architecture. The German scholar Muthesius described it, in 1904, as 'the first private house of the new artistic culture, the first house to be conceived as a whole inside and out, the very first example in the history of the modern house' and it subsequently entered most of the written histories of 'modern' architecture, including Nicholaus Pevsner's influential Pioneers of the Modern Movement published in 1936.
Today the appeal of Red House seems stronger than ever. An increasing stream of visitors from all over the world turn up at the wooden gate in the red brick wall, to ask for permission to enter.
Those who can make the pilgrimage are the lucky few. For the rest, this monograph conveys - as far as the printed page can do so - the reality of Red House.
Following an illustrated essay which tells the history of the building and describes in detail what it is like today, the book contains large reproductions of Philip Webb's original drawings, a comprehensive set of current measure drawings of the house, and a portfolio of 24 outsize photographs conveying with great verisimilitude what it is actually like to walk around and through, Red House. There is also a definitive chronology and bibliography.
This is therefore the first complete and authentic record of Red House. It is meant equally for scholars and historians, practising architects and architectural students, and lay enthusiasts.