One of the best holiday gifts this christmas one can experience is the charm of a Spitalfields townhouse with its 18th and 19th century perspective on family life in London. Called, the Dennis Severs’ House in London, Dennis Severs who is a Californian, bought the property in England in 1979 and created a “still-life drama”in the next 20 years. Yet, more than that – it’s a show-stopper that appears to pleasure, challenge and puzzle guests in equivalent measure.
For an ultimate travel guide, specific details of the property include: a Georgian terrace, 10 rooms across four floors of different historic styles, low-ceilinged basement rooms for cellar and kitchen, up creaking stairs, parlours, smoking rooms, drawing room, print room and bedchambers. In each room artistic and realistic details such as crockery dashed to the floor, elaborate vanity screen, brass bell at bedside, socks stuffed inside shoes, half finished meals, and half-emptied glasses add more art to the property. In the smoking room the scene in a Hogarth-esque painting is duplicated such as a chair knocked over, clothing strewn about, and glasses and bottles toppled.
What it Feels
Severs could have described himself as a performance or installation artist. His art brings stillness and absorption. “Your senses will be your only guide” as visitors are welcomed with silence and greeted with whispered instructions. Severs intention is seriousness at the heart of the house. No audio guide, guests are requested not to talk and take photos, and light should only comes from a lighted candle. Those who love tranquility and calmness, holiday travels to this place is really just for you. Its maxim is “You either see it or you don’t,” however I feel “You either get it or you don’t” may be more fitting.
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