In chaotic & uncertain times there’s no harm whatsoever in wrapping ourselves up in a great big blanket of comforting nostalgia – especially at this time of the year. In our opinion there’s nowhere in London better for that than Dennis Severs’ remarkable house at 18 Folgate Street, E1. It’s an absolute joy at any time, but now, dressed for Xmas it casts a truly magical spell.
The Grade II-listed Georgian terrace is a delightful curio, offering a perspective on family life in 18th and 19th-century London. But it’s so much more than a mere time capsule. It’s a work of art that amazes, challenges and confounds in equal measure. It was Dennis Severs’ intention that as you enter his house it is as if you have passed through the surface of a painting, allowing the senses and imagination to explore a meticulously curated world.
It’s like a game. The idea is that, as a visitor, you’ve just interrupted a family of Huguenot silk weavers named Jervis who, although they can still sometimes be heard, seem always to be just out of sight. Silently you are invited to search through the ten rooms of the house, each lit by fire and candlelight, each providing clues to the lives that are being led.
Dennis called it ‘still-life drama’ and his idea was to provide a rare moment in which we can get lost in another time even as we appear to be in our own.
Beautiful, fascinating and beguiling, it’s an ideal seasonal treat.
Dennis Severs’ House
18 Folgate Street
London E1 6BX
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7247 4013