EMERY WALKER HOUSE
7 Hammersmith Terrace, London
Emery Walker's House, which was a private home until 1999, has the most complete and authentic Arts & Crafts interiors in the UK.
The house includes handblocked Morris & Co Wallpaper and textiles and Philip Webb furniture.
The tall, terraced house on the River Thames at Hammersmith was home to the printer Emery Walker, friend and mentor to William Morris. The decoration and furnishings are preserved as they were in his lifetime.
It was a very short visit to the Emery Walker house along with the conservator Allyson McDermott who has done significant wallpaper conservation at the house. Our conversation were mostly around focusing on the ways and methods used to conserve the originality and authenticity of the papers that has been layered with crazing, dirt and dusk over the years. So here, Allyson mentions an interesting project when Uppark House was ravaged by fire in 1989, the National Trust turned to Allyson. she explains 'We conserved the little that was saved from the fire and then we remade the rest to match,' she says. The wallpaper had to look exactly as it did the day before the blaze tore through the house; this meant recreating all blemishes.
'What we work with is infinitely precious,' she says. 'You simply cannot make mistakes.' Everything is underpinned by scientific research and a robust methodology, the results of which must be absolutely reversible, as is standard conservation practice.
I can recall only the the dining room at Emery Walker's House which perfectly demonstrates the many layers of the house – the Morris textiles and hand blocked wallpaper, the Arts & Crafts ceramics and furniture, the knick-knacks and curiosities that make this feel like a family home. There are also many photographs, often taken by Emery himself, of his friends and colleagues, who were leading cultural figures of the day.
One of the most striking elements of this room is the “Bird” pattern hanging, which spans the entire length of one wall which again was a masterpiece by Morris & co wallpapers.