Some doors open on a thickly-peopled air Of moving shadows, those whose lives, long gone, Were spent there.... Some on a waiting silence - of expectancy For those to come; some to the musty smell Of mere desuetude; and some in constancy To the long loving years of sweet content In which the light of sun and moon have blent In lasting light that bids all dark farewell - Of such will this room tell.
Mary Stella Edwards, 1962.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Day 1: Opening the Door (1 May 2010)
Their gate is open, their door is unlocked.
I can dust their table and sweep their floors and lift down their tea-cups. I can look at the changing colours of the same sea when I stand at their windows.
Judith Ackland (1889-1971) and Mary Stella Edwards (1893-1989) met as students at The Regent Street Polytechnic where they both studied art. They used the tiny Cabin at Bucks Mills as their studio from the 1920s until Judith's death, a period of nearly 50 years.
They lived and worked here in the summers, painting watercolours of the beach, the coastal landscapes and the village. They also produced dioramas: collaborative work where Judith made all the models, and Mary Stella painted their backdrops.
When they closed the door of their Cabin for the final time, it remained ready for them to return - and it stands preserved almost as they left it over 40 years ago.