Lee Miller was an American fashion model and photographer whose main claim to fame at one time was a photograph she had posed for … in the bathtub of Adolf Hitler.
However, after that aberration, she married Roland Penrose, the English surrealist painter and author. She had met him before the war but they formalised their relationship in 1947.
In 1949 they moved into a house in the country, now known as Farleys House & Gallery. It’s run by their son, Antony.
When Lee died, in 1977, Antony’s wife Suzanna found more than 60,000 negatives and photographs in the attic of the house. They were jumbled together in cardboard boxes along with other memorabilia of her life – souvenirs, love letters, Nazi artifacts, journals and drafts of articles she’d written.
This is when Antony realised that his mother had been someone and that the chances were that so was his father and the guests they had received at their home in Farley House when he was a boy …
… guests such as Pablo Picasso.
He discovered that his mother had been a highly recognised photographer and war correspondent. His father, still alive at that time, was also a respected surrealist painter.
They filled the house not only with their artist friends but also with the gifts they had received – artworks from those guests; Picasso, Miro, Max Ernst.. and of course, their own works.
Today Antony has restored the adjacent barn to form a gallery and the house itself, with its wonderful and eclectic artworks, is also open to the public.
The gardens too, a sculpture garden designed by Roland Penrose, are also open to the public.
It’s easy to get there from London – it takes less than two hours by road – and it’s also a great day out if you’re exploring the south coast of England – see the map below.
HOW TO FIND FARLEYS HOUSE
Farleys House & Gallery
Lewes BN8 6HW,
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.