Friday, 9 April 2010

The Geffrye Musuem

While I was around Shorditch and Spitalfields yesterday I popped into the Geffrye Museum. The Geffrye is a museum of domestic interiors since the 15th Century and includes furniture, textiles, wallpaper and also garden design.

Here's what they have to say about it:

"The Geffrye Museum depicts the quintessential style of English middle-class living rooms. Its collections of furniture, textiles, paintings and decorative arts are displayed in a series of period rooms from 1600 to the present day.

The displays lead the visitor on a walk through time, from the 17th century with oak furniture and panelling, past the refined splendour of the Georgian period and the high style of the Victorians, to 20th century modernity as seen in a 1930s flat, a mid-century room in 'contemporary style' and a late-20th century living space in a converted warehouse.

The museum is set in elegant 18th century almshouses with a contemporary wing surrounded by attractive gardens, which include an award-winning walled herb garden and a series of period gardens."

What was most interesting for me was the historic setting of the museum. The building used to a be a series of almshouses for the Ironmongers Company. The houses are surrounded by gardens, with a large lawn at the front creating an oasis in this busy part of East London. The museum has a contemporary extension at the back which houses the 20th Century wing, restaurant, shop and design studios for visiting schools and art classes.

A postcard of what the original almshouses would have looked like; the front facade remains mostly unchanged.

A view of the modern extension at the back of the museum.

Views of the interior of the extension.

Details of the layout and design of an 18th Century townhouse.

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