A musical evening with the Bloomsbury Set: Museums at Night at Charleston Farmhouse

By Museums at Night Project Manager, Nick Stockman | 14 May 2011
a photo of people outside a floral covered house
Gathering for a twilight tour of Charleston Farmhouse© Nick Stockman / Culture24
During Museums at Night 2011 Culture24 staff and reporters visited night-time events and reported back with pictures and a few words. We'll be doing the same in 2012 during the weekend of May 18 - 20 2012. In the meantime here's a taster from 2011.

It’s hard to believe the Bloomsbury set never had a band in during their many soirees at Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell’s farmhouse Charleston, but apparently this is the first time there has been live music in the house. 

a photo of people sat round a tavle in a kitchen listening to a man playing a cello
A little Bach in the Kitchen?© Nick Stockman / Culture24
A packed night at Charleston saw 40 lucky culture vultures enjoy this musical premier with a night-time tour of the former bolt hole of the Bloomsbury set, nestling in the gently twilit landscape of the Sussex Downs. 

a photo of a table with an old pengiun paerback on it and a bottle of ink
The period detail of Charleston was just one of the attractions of the evening...© Nick Stockman / Culture24
Split into groups of ten we were effortlessly guided around the house and its treasures by highly knowledgeable and passionate Charleston volunteer guides.

a photo of a man holding a violin in a room witrh an easal whic is holding a full portrait of a naked man on it
Beautiful music and art pervaded the house© Nick Stockman / Culture24
Ours was elegant and erudite as she quietly contextualised Charleston’s amazing interior in which everything has been decorated to become a work of art.

a photo of a man looking at a painting next to a bookcase
Plenty of time and space to take in Charleston's unique atmosphere© Nick Stockman / Culture24
Four of the rooms also contained a musician who played solo pieces from Bach as we perused the amazing furnishings, paintings and décor before coming together for a full string quartet performance in the cafeteria/kitchen.

a photo of a woman playing a violin in a highly decorated room
The sound of Bach floated out across the Sussex Downs© Nick Stockman / Culture24
“Hopefully this will be the first of many events like this” said the events manager at Charleston Holly Wood, who, after thanking everybody, asked for suggestions for future activities.

a photo of a man looking at objects in crowded house with a painting in the foreground
Charleston is packed with artistic and literary treasures© Nick Stockman / Culture24
One of the strongest was for an evening of music from the era of Bell, Grant and their famous friend Virginia Woolf.

a photo of a woman seen in the mirror of a highly decorated room
Charleston allows you to immerse yourself in the world of the Bloomsbury Set© Nick Stockman / Culture24
Perhaps we will be dancing the Charleston at Charleston for next year’s Museums at Night?   
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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