I recently attended a conference at Cambridge University. While I was there I was lucky enough to pay a visit to Kettle’s Yard the home of Jim and Helen Ede between 1958 and 1973.
‘In the 1920s and 30s Jim had been a curator at the Tate Gallery in London. Thanks to his friendships with artists and other like-minded people, over the years he gathered a remarkable collection, including paintings by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones and Joan Miro, as well as sculptures by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. At Kettle’s Yard Jim carefully positioned these artworks alongside furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects, with the aim of creating a harmonic whole. His vision was of a place that should not be
“an art gallery or museum, nor … simply a collection of works of art reflecting my taste or the taste of a given period. It is, rather, a continuing way of life from these last fifty years, in which stray objects, stones, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used to make manifest the underlying stability.”
After ringing the bell in outside a nondescript wooden door, you gain admittance and are asked to leave any bags at the door. The pleasant and knowledgeable staff encourage you to sit on the chairs and look through the books on the shelves, all part of the ethos of living alongside art, and taking time to contemplate beauty in the everdyay.