I can still remember the first time I visited Kettles Yard back in 2007/2008 (Basically a really long time ago). To be honest I didn’t even know it existed until my mum (upon learning I was set on applying to study art at university), bundled me in the car and drove me to Cambridge.
Next thing I know we were ringing the bell of this deceptively large cottage, which was to go on to inspire me in so many ways in the coming 4 years of studying. Kettles Yard was originally the home of art collector Jim Ede and his wife Helen, and the couple would maintain an ‘open house’ every afternoon in order to give guided tours of his art collections to local students.
Ede eventually left the home (and the artwork) to the University of Cambridge, who’ve preserved it and have kept it working as an open house/art gallery/ inspiring beautiful space for visitors to enjoy. Unlike many art galleries (which can seem cold and stuffy), at Kettles Yard visitors are encouraged to utilise the furniture, lounge around and admire the work in leisurely comfort – They way art should be enjoyed, really.A beautiful mix of artwork and found objects, Ede paid extraordinary attention to the play of light throughout the house, and many objects are displayed in such a way as to create shadows as the sunlight moves throughout the day.
Kettles Yard is still free to visit as it was ten years ago, but you can sadly no longer just stroll to the front door and ring the bell to enter. You can though book a time slot here: http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/house-tickets/ or in person at opening time. You can generally spend as much time as you need in the house – Jim and I spent a lot of time admiring the large gallery from the comfort of a sofa before heading out to explore the rest of the city. They also have a small café on site, a bookshop and another smaller gallery with regularly changing exhibitions.