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Reddish House - Livres du Mois

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

As a Christmas present to you all I have scanned the auction catalogue for Cecil Beaton’s Reddish House, held on the 9th-10th June 1980. I was hoping to build another library as I did for Stephen Tennant but alas no books were included in the sale. There is however multitudes of furniture, art and little stories connected to certain items. The catalogue will be available to read here in its own post and in the rare book section of the Compendium’s library.

To bring the catalogue to life I have comprised photographs of Reddish House and the gardens. And, of course, reading recommendations.



Reddish House

Beaton was introduced to the possibility of buying Reddish House in 1947 by Edith Olivier, she knew of it having stopped outside previously with Rex Whistler who had drawn it. Cecil Beaton bought Reddish House the same year and transformed the interior. "I am the proud owner of an exquisite country seat… it is the beginning of a new interest and I am thrilled at the prospect," he wrote in 1947. Beaton added rooms on the eastern side, extended the parlour southwards, and introduced many new fittings.

For more than 30 years Reddish was to be Beaton's home and haven in the country and was host to a succession of visitors from the world of high society along with leading artists of the day. He hosted lavish parties with guests ranging from the Queen Mother to Mick Jagger, his longest staying guest being Greta Garbo who stayed for six weeks.


The Garden

Reddish House is where Cecil fell in love with gardening and he created many gardens in the years he lived there. In 1971 he added a water garden in the meadow at the front of the house with a walkway and playground, the Elysian field which still exists. Beaton also added the indoor "Winter Garden" with a glass dome roof and a small pool in the marble floor.

Below is a short talk from the London College of Garden Design, from a series where they asked their colleagues to talk about their own gardens and sources of inspiration. In this their 36th film in the series, is a fascinating talk by graduate Duncan Cargill of Cargill Sykes that he was due to give to a garden group in Wiltshire. It's wonderfully done, with exceptional research, dozens of photographs and plans to give you a true insight into Cecil's making of the gardens at Reddish House.



Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations

1948-55 An Interior Life

The Strenuous Years Andrew Ginger


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