46: Return to Kettle’s Yard

Laura Freeman, chief art critic at The Times and author of Ways of Life: Jim Ede and the Kettle’s Yard Artists, and Kettle’s Yard Director Andrew Nairne take us back to Cambridge in this follow-up to Episode 30 of the Foxed pod.

Jim Ede was a man for whom art, books, beauty, friendship and creativity were essential facets of a happy and fulfilled life and, in her acclaimed group biography of Jim and his artists, Laura casts new light on the men and women who gently shaped a new way of making, seeing and living with art for the twentieth century. Laura and Andrew join Slightly Foxed Editors Gail and Hazel at the kitchen table to draw us deeper into Jim and his wife Helen’s way of life at Kettle’s Yard: a domestic home-cum-gallery where pausing to sit is encouraged and artworks, furniture, ceramics, books and found objects from the natural world live side by side in delicious harmony. We follow Laura upstairs to Helen’s sitting-room to meet Constanin Brâncuşi’s cement-cast head of the boy Prometheus, we pause in the light-filled Dancer Room to take in Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s bronze ballerina and we pass Barbara Hepworth’s strokable slate sculpture Three Personages on the landing before leafing through the bookshelves to discover hand-bound early editions of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and works by Henry James. We hear how Jim believed that art was for everyone and wasn’t just for looking at but also for touching, hearing and engaging with: a belief so central to his ethos that he would lend pieces to Cambridge University students to place in their own living spaces.
Books mentioned
We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Jess in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.
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Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach
The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable

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