The lived-in beauty of Kettle's Yard
Words and Photographs Louise Long
As summer comes to the newly opened Kettle’s Yard we visit this unique home for a tour around the rooms and amongst the exquisite works of art…
Following two years of closure, a unique collection of art and objects has reopened to the public. Home of the late Jim and Helen Ede, Kettle’s Yard embodies a unique outlook on a traditional art display by being ‘neither an art gallery nor museum… nor… simply a collection of works of art.’ At its core, Kettle’s Yard represents a way of life where stray objects are unified amongst masterpieces, and every detail has a story to tell.
As Curator at the Tate Gallery, London in the 1920s and 1930s, Jim Ede lay the foundations of his lifelong friendships with artists and makers, though his collecting tendencies had been established in childhood. Over five decades, the Edes garnered a remarkable collection – from paintings by rising artists of the likes of Nicholson and Miro, sculptures by Hepworth and Brancusi, as well as rare pieces of furniture, ceramics, glassware and natural objects. Eventually, all of their collected items found their place within the series of extended cottages which the Edes made their home in the 1960s. On retiring to Edinburgh in 1966, the couple gifted the house and its contents to the University of Cambridge, preserving the unique domesticity and integrity of its arrangement. Today, the permanent collection is adjoined by a set of contemporary galleries, with their own vibrant exhibitions programme. Kettle’s Yard is a reawakened treasure trove: the continuing evocation of a man’s life, philosophy, compassion, and refined sense of aesthetic.