Friday, 9 January 2015

Dennis Sever's House, Spitalfields, London



Earlier this week, we stepped back in time to the 18th century and paid a visit to Dennis Sever's House in Spitalfields, London.  Just round the corner from the hustle of the City, this 4 storey townhouse houses the imaginary family of Mr and Mrs Jervis, a family of Huguenot silk weavers.

As you enter the house, you step back in time to a home  lit by candlelight and heated by smoky coal and log fires.  Each room is a still life;  a meal unfinished on the dining room table, tea things in the drawing room on the first floor and unmade beds and washing drying upstairs.  It's as if the family have just this minute left.  The only concession to the 21st century is a sound recording in each room - music, birdsong from caged birds and murmuring voices.

Visitors are asked to  walk around the house in silence.  It makes you look closely at everything and really absorb  the atmosphere of the house - the sounds and the smells.

This unique experience was created by artist Dennis Severs (1948- 1999) who bought the house in 1979 and lived there while he created his 'famous time machine'.  We visited just before Epiphany when the house was decorated for Christmas, but you can visit all year round.


Further reading:  http://www.theguardian.com/news/2000/jan/10/guardianobituaries





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