Home to Jim Ede and his wife Helen from 1956 to 1973, the Kettle’s Yard gallery was conceived as a “living place where works of art could be enjoyed”. Entry is gained by pulling on a door bell, continuing a tradition of ‘open house’ started by Ede. Once inside, you are invited to choose a book to read, take out your sketch pad, or simply to curl up in the sunlight that pervades the space.
The collection of painting, sculpture, furniture and other objets d’art reads like a roll call of 20th-century art: Ben Nicholson, Joan Miro, Constantin Brancusi, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore are just a few of those represented. More conventional art – a Brancusi head atop a grand piano, the canvases hanging above Ede’s bed – are interspersed with china, glass and natural objects such as stones and shells. Works are still displayed as arranged by Ede, demonstrating his keen eye for interplays of shape, texture and colour.
The uniquely shaped house was constructed from four derelict cottages, later extended to add a large, modernist space suitable for recitals. A further gallery, built in 1970, is used for temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. Daniel Barenboim and Jacqueline du Pré once played in the house, and there are still regular recitals of chamber music, jazz and new music. Together with a programme of art workshops and talks for all ages, they ensure that Kettle’s Yard remains very much a ‘living place’.
Don’t miss: The ancient Cypriot jug (c700 BC) tucked beneath a slate table in the extension.
Castle Street, Cambridge
Open Tue–Sun & Bank Holiday Mon 2–4pm (house), 11.30am–5pm (gallery).
Cambridge tourist information: 0871 226 8006