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Studio Cottage, the Studio and Ha-Ha to Rear, Rodmarton

Description: Studio Cottage, the Studio and Ha-Ha to Rear

Grade: II
Date Listed: 23 September 2010
English Heritage Building ID: 508646

OS Grid Reference: ST9554099177
OS Grid Coordinates: 395540, 199177
Latitude/Longitude: 51.6913, -2.0659

Location: Rodmarton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 6PD GL7 6PD

Locality: Rodmarton
Local Authority: Cotswold District Council
County: Gloucestershire
Country: England
Postcode: GL7 6PD

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Listing Text


1064/0/10020 SANDPOOL LANE

A detached cottage and studio, designed circa 1920 by Alfred Hoare Powell as his summer home and pottery-decorating studio, built circa 1920-1932, and set in a large garden with a stone-built ha-ha.

MATERIALS: The house is timber framed, of full-cruck construction, clad in weatherboarding and with timber rainwater goods and limestone rubble stack. The studio is partly of split-pale construction, with one weatherboarded elevation, and a thatched roof.

PLAN: The cottage is roughly square on plan, with the interior divided to provide a large studio and living room to the left, and a narrow kitchen, essentially a through-passage, to the right. A ground-floor lobby giving access to a cloakroom can be reached from both inside and outside the house.

EXTERIOR: The building is of one storey and an attic. It is formed from a short range running front to back, with a short cross-wing of equal height to the side, creating three gabled elevations, their deep roofs with swept valleys, and a fourth elevation with a long catslide roof. The building is characterised by the high, wide gables necessitated by the cruck frame. The elevations are asymmetrical, and weatherboarded above a brick and stone plinth with an offset close to ground level. The fenestration is irregular; all the windows are mullioned timber casements with rectangular leaded lights, of one, two, three or four lights, and there is a gabled dormer to the north-east side, which also has a deep catslide roof extending over the porch extension. There is a massive, rectangular stack built from limestone rubble, with two drip mouldings. The external doors are plank doors, ledged and braced, with moulded edges to the planks, decorative studding, wrought-iron strap hinges and wrought-iron door furniture.

INTERIOR: Internally, there is a small entrance hallway, with stone-flag floor, and a newel stair formed from solid treads; the hall has a plaster frieze of oak leaves and acorns with a beaded edge, designed by Ernest Gimson. The doors here, and throughout the house, are plank doors, ledged and braced, with wrought-iron strap hinges. To the left, the living room takes up the majority of the ground floor. The cruck blades and the other elements of the timber frame are exposed here, and throughout the building; they are chamfered and pegged, and have visible carpenter's marks. The living room has a large chimney breast with wide opening having a large timber bressumer, carved to give display space. A main stair, with stick balusters, turning through ninety degrees, sits in the northern part of this room, giving access to the first floor. Behind the hall, the kitchen has few features apart from its door to the rear lobby, which can also be accessed from the adjacent living room. The rear lobby has a stone floor and doors to the outside and to a cloakroom. The main stair from the living room rises to the attic, where a small landing has doors to a bathroom and the main bedroom. The timber frame is exposed, and the cruck trusses have twin purlins and cambered collars; the roof is ceiled above the level of the collars. The second bedroom is reached via the newel stair in the hall, and is not accessible from the main body of the attic. The second bedroom has built-in cupboards with doors similar to those in the rest of the building.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: THE STUDIO is largely of split-pale construction, with one weatherboarded elevation, and a thatched roof. The entrance has a wide weatherboarded doorway opening outwards, and concealing half-glazed double-doors within. The south elevation has two sets of similar doors, and there are various windows with timber and metal casements. The western end of the building is clasped by a long external porch, over which the steeply-pitched thatched roof extends. The interior is now divided into three roughly equally-sized rooms.

The buildings are set in a large garden with Cotswold stone walling to the rear boundaries. Immediately to their rear a semi-circular HA-HA, built in Cotswold stone rubble, divides the buildings from the surrounding land.

HISTORY: Studio Cottage was built on land purchased from the Rodmarton estate by Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960), the Arts and Crafts architect, designer and pottery-painter, who was a close associate of Ernest Gimson and Detmar Blow. Powell had moved to the Cotswolds from London to work with the group of craftsmen, architects and designers which had settled at Sapperton, including Ernest Gimson and the Barnsley brothers, and in 1902, he purchased Gurners Farm at Oakridge Lynch, setting about remodelling the C17 farmstead to create a home and workshop for himself. From the beginning of the C20, Powell had begun to design and decorate pottery for the renowned firm of Wedgwood, and here he met Ada Louise Lessore (1882-1956), a talented decorator of pottery, as well as a skilled calligrapher, illuminator and needlewoman. Powell and Lessore were married in 1906, and became established figures in the Cotswold group.

Alfred and Louise Powell revived and updated many of Wedgwood's C18 designs from circa 1906, and soon established a workshop for Wedgwood in London, where they chose to employ young people from Gloucestershire, conforming to their Arts and Crafts ethos, rather than more sophisticated trainees from London who had been subject to formal art school training. The Powells became highly significant designers at Wedgwood, acting as teachers to the groups of young people employed to decorate ceramics; they are now recognised as the key figures in the C20 revival of Staffordshire free-decoration of pottery. They frequently visited Wedgwood's Etruria works, and those in London, and between times, worked on their own account in Gloucestershire, with an annual winter exhibition of their work. Their careers as ceramic artists flourished in the years following the First World War, and though they lived for part of the year in London, they began to plan a summer home and workshop for themselves in Gloucestershire from about 1919, with plans for what became Studio Cottage drawn up from about 1920.

The precise date of the building of the cottage and studio are unclear; plans for the cottage date from 1919-20; a building notice may indicate that it was not constructed until 1932, though this could refer to the addition of the detached studio, which appears to be slightly later in date. The cottage, cruck-framed, weather-boarded and with hand-crafted fixtures and fittings which reflect Alfred Powell's interest in traditional building methods and materials, was designed primarily as a studio, with large, light spaces in which to work, a small kitchen and a galleried sleeping area upstairs. Much of the Powells' ceramic decoration and design work from this period onwards was carried out at Studio Cottage, including the design and execution of furniture, woodwork, metalwork and textiles for the furnishing of nearby Rodmarton Manor, an Arts and Crafts house built by the Barnsleys for the Biddulph family, who were great supporters of the local Arts and Crafts movement. The detached studio alongside the cottage was added to allow more working space for the Powells and their local trainees.

Studio Cottage remained the home of the Powells until their deaths, and has been little altered since, though the first floor has been fully ceiled. The detached studio has been partitioned internally to create three rooms.

SOURCES: Batkin, M: Good Workmanship with Happy Thought: the work of Alfred and Louise Powell (Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museums exhibition catalogue, 1992)
Gordon, C: Cotswold Arts and Crafts Architecture (2009), 64-66
Greensted, M (ed): The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Cotswolds (1996), 92-109
Sarsby, J: Alfred Powell: Idealism and Realism in the Cotswolds, in Journal of Design History, Vol. 10, No.4, Craft, Culture and Identity (1997), 375-97

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Studio Cottage and The Studio, a summer cottage and pottery-decorating studio constructed in 1932 to his own design by the Arts and Crafts architect, designer and pottery-decorator Alfred Hoare Powell, are designated at Grade II, together with the ha-ha to the rear of the buildings, for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: Studio Cottage is a full-cruck framed building with a complete timber frame, hand-made and of very high quality; the Studio is an interesting split-pale building with a thatched roof, both buildings traditionally constructed
* Intactness: the Cottage retains its original weatherboard cladding, and is almost completely unaltered internally; the Studio is similarly unaltered apart from the introduction of some internal partitions
* Fixtures and fittings: the interior of Studio Cottage retains a wealth of Arts and Crafts timber joinery, ironwork and decorative details, either made by Powell or produced in the celebrated Sapperton workshops of the Barnsleys, including a plaster frieze to a design by Ernest Gimson
* Design interest: the buildings are a fascinating example of C20 Arts and Crafts historicist interest in vernacular building, using traditional materials and techniques; their combination of traditional building materials and techniques with early C20 Arts and Crafts design and workmanship exemplifies the movement which was so significant in the area and was widely influential in the period
* Historical association: with Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960), the Arts and Crafts architect, pottery decorator and designer, who was an important member of the colony of artist-craftsmen centred on the Barnsley brothers' workshops at Sapperton; Powell and his wife Louise Lessore, both of whom were celebrated pottery decorators for Wedgwood, used the cottage and studio for this work, and as a workshop for local workers also employed by Wedgwood
* Setting: the Cottage and Studio form a gentle curve on plan, and are set in an Arts and Crafts inspired garden, with a curving ha-ha constructed immediately to the rear of the buildings to allow the buildings to appear part of the natural landscape

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.