Farley Farm House

From the Chelsea Arts Club noticeboard…
Earlier this month, Lara Platman kindly arranged for two groups of Members to have a private tour of Lee Miller’s farmhouse. She writes:

‘Our day at the farmhouse was glorious. I arrived in the morning to enjoy the garden, but we all seemed to mingle at the pub in the middle of the day after and before our respective tours. The morning group said we would have an amazing time and would not tell us anything about it! One lady said her mother knew Lee Miller as she was photographed in Scotland by her and brought the photos to share.

In the afternoon we all followed Anthony Penrose and his daughter Ami around the new gallery and house to witness a moment in time, where each room is caught in the lives of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. During lockdown they created a crowd funder to make a new gallery space and my goodness it works so brilliantly against the house. We were able to see so many photographs that Lee took and in this current show Anthony curated a display that showed his life growing up at the farm, with Edward Steichen, Pablo Picasso, and many of the Surrealist artists that visited and helped work on the farm, from the Editor of Vogue to museum curators, all working with the pigs, upholstering furniture and making curtains: the life at the farm was truly a collective.

Ami is championing women surrealist artists who visited such as Dorothea Tanning and Grace Pailthorpe, who is currently on display alongside the work of Camouflage by Roland Penrose in the smaller entrance gallery. But my favourite room, as is Ami’s, is the kitchen, where the historic kitchen spices and saucepans are alongside the contemporary… the kitchen was the place that Lee truly felt calm after being in such conflict zones as a photographer. Each room as we explored the rest of the house was a cornucopia of visiting artists’ works on the walls and a history of a life that we could only glimpse into; however, Anthony really brought it to life…Just a brief introduction to our day but by goodness, glorious it was indeed. There is a Surrealist picnic at the farmhouse on Sunday 28th August and we all want to go.’