in Broadway, near Worcestershire,
Photo c. 1886
The Russell house would be the center
of attention and animation of the Broadway colony of artists. This was
actually the second home of the Broadway colony. They moved here in 1886
after having lived for a year at Farnham House, which was almost next door.
Russell House was quite a bit larger than Farnham House and both Abbey
and Sargent partnered with the Millets for a seven year lease. For
Millet, his wife, sister and kids, it became their family's permanent
residence. For Sargent and Abbey (both bachelors at the time) they deferred
to Frank's wife Lily
Millet and his sister Lucia Millet as mistresses of the house. Lily
became the informal hostess of the colony and to the Millets came a flock
of other guests who would come and go, staying indifferent periods throughout
the year either in this house or near at some other lodging.
This was Sargent's home away from
home - his second family and he would make it back to Broadway as much
as he could for four straight years. Though he had the Tite
Street studio in London, he really preferred Broadway during this period.
Still, the demands of his art had him traveling often.
The Cotswolds, England
Subject: Sargent at Broadway
From: Bill Grant
Gran tbill firstname.lastname@example.org
An absolutely brilliant site! I am
researching a history of Broadway (by the way, we are not on the Avon but
have a few streams), do you know why Millet chose Broadway/Farnham House?
. . . .
. . . I don't know if you have
seen my note about Millet and Broadway but I have now read that the connection
was Leonard Hutton telling Edwin Abbey and Frank Millet about the village
following which, as is well recorded, Abbey and Millet leased Farnham House
in 1885 (I presume for a year) before Millet made Russell House (which
is almost next door) his home in 1886. However, I need to find out a lot
I have now had a bit more time to
look at your site and am full of admiration for what you have done and
relate closely to your approach and what you say about the web. I am not
an historian, I am actually an investment banker (now reformed!) but but
my interests, as well as old cars, are history, architecture and art and
I feel that there is a great story to be told about the village of Broadway
with the right, top down, approach, and lots of detailed research. Clearly,
there are many, many aspects to what I am doing but the American ex-patriate
artists make a great story (I had no idea what interesting lives these
guys led) and Millet was very important to the village because not only
did he renovate and enlarge Russell House, by converting an adjoining barn
into a drawing room and studio, in 1900 he rescued Abbots'
Grange, one of the oldest buildings in the village, dating from about
1320. It became a studio.
I must emphasise that it is very
early days yet (in what I recon is a two year project) and I am finding
huge chunks of information on an almost daily basis but I noticed your
comment about maybe doing more work on the lives of people with whom Sargent
came into contact and I will be very happy to let you have Broadway stuff
as and when it materialises. As you can imagine, my project is very wide
ranging, encompassing Anglo Saxon settlements, the dissolution of the monastries,
the age of coaching, to name but a few, but at the moment I am fixated
with the Victorian artists and in particular the American connection. Having
lived in the US for some time, I feel that I have a better perspective
than many Brits. and it really is a great story. There is also the Morris/Burne
Jones stuff to be keyed in. I am determined that my history will be not
only deadly accurate but a good read as well!
When I have a moment I will e-mail
you some nineteenth century photographs of Farnham House, Russell House,
the Grange etc.
From Bill Grant Grant billg ran
Sorry I have been out of town and
had a load of mail to respond to, but I saved the best for last -- yours.
I was so happy and surprised by your correspondence and, of course, thanks
so much for your kind remarks about my site -- it's taken a while to put
together but I think its' reached critical mass.
Sargent at Broadway interests me
a great deal. For me, I think his time there and his associations he formed
make it in the top three events in his life (if not higher). I have held
off on doing anything about that part of his life because I know so little
about Broadway. If you are willing to help with photographs or other input,
I'm thrilled to accept the offer -- yes yes yes, I want all of that.
Are you planning a book or a web-published
endeavor, such as I have done here? If you want to put it on the web, I
would be very interested in helping you with any technical questions or
anyway else I can do to help.
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2000
Farnham House sent again. I will
try something different when I'm back if it fails. No other dates I'm afraid
but I hope to get more when I track down the originals.
I liked your Millet piece. It rather
sums up my feeling about him and also, slightly differently, the others
in that they were dynamic or interesting and generally both!
Broadway today is a bit of a contradiction,
albeit a very pleasant one. There is a number of upmarket galleries but
I wouldn't exactly call it arty [Editors Note: I
had told Bill I thought it might have been arty].
It has a hunt and a typical village pub next to the church but you can
also buy cashmere in the High Street where it is not unusual to see both
Ferraris and tractors.
There was definitely something in
the air in the second half of the nineteenth century though, and I am looking
forward to trying to capture the spirit of the age on paper.
Editor's note: [I had
asked Bill if he new of any good maps or info on Broadway]
for interest. Also this for maps
(search "Broadway Worcestershire")