Susannah Stevenson










We are excited to announce that Susannah Stevenson is joining Charleston as Artistic Director of the Charleston Festival, Small Wonder Festival and Literary Programmes.

Susannah is a literary programmer and arts producer who has worked at some of the UK’s most prestigious arts venues, including the British Library and the Southbank Centre, home of the London Literature Festival. As Cultural Events Producer for the British Library, she curated the literature programme and seasons such as the European Literature Focus, Food Season and Harry Potter: A History of Magic.

Susannah will lead on the artistic planning and delivery of the year-round books, discussion and debate strand of Charleston’s growing what’s on programme. The centerpiece of this strand is the interdisciplinary Charleston Festival of books, ideas and creativity, which runs over 10 days every May. Charleston Festival’s founder and Artistic Director, Diana Reich, stepped down after the 30th anniversary of this pioneering festival in 2019 but will continue to programme Charleston’s sister festival, Charleston to Charleston, which takes place in South Carolina every November.

Through Charleston’s literary programmes, Susannah will explore the relevance of the Bloomsbury group’s ideas and legacy in contemporary society to provide a forum for conversations and bring new work to enquiring audiences. Charleston’s existing portfolio of festivals also includes Small Wonder, the UK’s only festival dedicated to short stories, which has been running for 15 years and will return to the programme in autumn 2020. Her role will also support the discussion and debate strand of Charleston’s wider programme including new festivals for children and young people, Queer Bloomsbury, Music & Word and other spoken word events, both at Charleston and with partners in the region and further afield.

Susannah sits on the selection panel for the European Writers’ Tour and was the Founding Chair of the Gender Equality Network at the British Library. She is also a reviewer, editor and researcher, and was a Clore Emerging Leader in 2015.

Nathaniel Hepburn, Director and Chief Executive, The Charleston Trust, said:

“We are all really excited to welcome Susannah to Charleston, where she will become the custodian of our very special literary festivals and the innovator of new programmes. I look forward to working with her to build on Diana’s formidable legacy with Charleston Festival and Small Wonder, while also exploring new ideas for our year-round programme to attract new audience to experience extraordinary literature and radical ideas in the unique setting of Charleston’s Hay Barn. ”

Susannah Stevenson, Artistic Director: Charleston Festival, Small Wonder and Literary Programmes, The Charleston Trust, said:

“I am delighted to be joining The Charleston Trust as their new Artistic Director for Charleston Festival, Small Wonder and the wider literary programme. It is an honour to step into the rich tradition of literature and radical ideas which Diana Reich has established here in this unique and special place. It is a tradition embodied by the Bloomsbury Group, whose work and lives provide an endless well of inspiration and a call to challenge the status quo at every turn. I look forward to building on the incredible work that has come before me to explore and celebrate extraordinary ideas and voices, ensuring that Charleston remains relevant and loved by audiences old and new.”

Next year’s Charleston Festival will take place from 15 to 25 May 2020.

(L to R) Helen Bagnall, Grayson Perry and Philippa Perry at the 2019 Charleston Festival Image © Electric Egg


At Charleston we’re thrilled to be named among the UK’s top places to visit by Lonely Planet in their #UltimateUKTravelist of the most memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences to be had across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. 

Duncan Grant’s studio at Charleston © Electric Egg

The only complete preserved Bloomsbury interior in the world, Charleston’s individually designed and hand-painted rooms were inspired by Italian fresco painting and the Post-Impressionists. Visitors can take a tour around the unique spaces and explore the stories and lives of the artists, writers and thinkers who made it their home. Alongside the house, Charleston runs a programme of exhibitions, workshops, talks and events throughout the year, as well as a portfolio of literary festivals.

Charleston is one of just 34 attractions from the South East of England to make the Lonely Planet’s ‘Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist’.

The UK’s four constituent countries and countless small islands comprise a powerhouse of history, culture and intrigue. Now for the first time, Lonely Planet’s community of travel experts have chosen the best sights and experiences and ranked them in order of their brilliance in Lonely Planet’s ‘Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist’.

Lonely Planet’s VP of Experience, Tom Hall, said:

“Lonely Planet’s ‘Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist’ brings together the UK’s most compelling sights and experiences, ranging from world-class museums and giant cathedrals to rollicking festivals, inky lochs and tiny pubs.”

To create Lonely Planet’s ‘Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist’, the Lonely Planet team compiled every highlight from the Lonely Planet guidebooks for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Every sight, attraction and experience that had caught their writers’ attention over the years were included. Everyone in Lonely Planet’s London office, plus 20 leading figures in the country’s travel sector, were then asked to reveal their favourite spots and experiences before the voting began. Everybody in Lonely Planet’s UK community was asked to vote for their top 20 experiences. With hundreds of votes cast, Lonely Planet ended up with a score for each of the 500 experiences in the book.  



14 September 2019 – 19 January 2020

100 years after the Omega Workshops closed their doors in the heart of bohemian London, a major exhibition exploring their radical approach to modern design and living is set to open at Charleston where the Workshops’ ideals found their most convincing expression.

Established by the painter and art critic Roger Fry in 1913, the Omega Workshops were a design enterprise that employed many of the most avant-garde artists of the day. Inspired by the new, vital spirit of Post-Impressionism they created thrillingly bold, colourful and abstract items for the home that challenged the social sensibilities of Edwardian Britain. In 1913, Fry remarked to a journalist:

“it is time that the spirit of fun was introduced into furniture and into fabrics. We have suffered too long from the dull and the stupidly serious”.

Opening room of the Omega Workshops, 33 Fitzroy Square, London. © The Charleston Trust

Collage, Duncan Grant, design for a fire screen panel, 1916, mixed media and gouache on board, framed, glazed, signed and dated. © The Estate of Duncan Grant. All rights reserved. DACS 2019 and The Charleston Trust.













Post-Impressionist Living: The Omega Workshops will feature the largest display of Omega objects in more than 30 years, with around 200 works on show. The exhibition traces the Workshops’ philosophy and beginnings through to their pioneering experiments in interior design.

Drawing on loans from the V&A, The Courtauld Gallery, a number of private collectors and Charleston’s own collection, the exhibition will showcase some of the finest examples of the Workshops’ furniture, ceramics, printed fabrics and textiles, including many works on public display for the first time. Works on paper that reveal the vision and design processes of the artists who worked at the Omega Workshops will also feature.

Fry viewed art as a necessary facet of everyday life and, through the Omega Workshops, sought to remove what he saw as the false division between fine and decorative art. This experimental moment in design history sparked a change in British taste and style that still resonates today. At its height, artists working at the Workshops included Paul Nash, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Frederick and Jessie Etchells, Nina Hamnett, Henri Doucet, Edward Wadsworth and Wyndham Lewis.

Well ahead of their time, the Workshops’ expressive, colourful and bold designs pioneered many of the trends which became wildly fashionable in the fabrics and ceramics of the 1920s and 30s. Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, W.B. Yeats and E.M. Forster; as well as high society figures like Lady Ottoline Morrell and Maud Cunard were among the customers at the Workshops’ premises at 33 Fitzroy Square, London. Even Gertrude Stein paid a visit.

As the former home of the Omega Workshops’ co-directors, Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Charleston is a fitting setting for the exhibition. The House’s playfully painted interiors, brightly decorated furniture and embroideries make it the living embodiment of a Post-Impressionist inspired home. When Bell and Grant moved to Charleston in October 1916 they brought an array of Omega items with them, and today Charleston’s collection includes the tableware the Bloomsbury group ate with and the chairs they sat on.

Dr Darren Clarke, Head of Collections, Research and Exhibitions at Charleston who has curated the exhibition said:

“Roger Fry’s vision for the Omega Workshops was to bring the Post-Impressionist aesthetic into the home. Charleston is that living ideal; a place where art and design merge and live harmoniously. Still inspiring artists and creatives today, the Omega created exciting and radical designs, looking for honesty and integrity as well as beauty and mindfulness in the items people chose for their homes”.

Spanning the Wolfson, Spotlight and South Galleries, Post-Impressionist Living: The Omega Workshops is the latest exhibition to be staged in Charleston’s new galleries which opened last September. From Cubist-style lampshade holders and rugs to Fauvist-inspired textiles, the exhibition will give visitors a taste of what it must have been like to step inside the Omega Workshops’ studios and showrooms, with a diverse range of items being made and sold.

The Omega Workshops managed to stay open throughout the First World War, eventually closing in 1919. Although short-lived, this visionary group of design disruptors had a far-reaching influence and paved the way for more expressive forms of representation in decorative art that retained the artist’s touch.

Post-Impressionist Living: The Omega Workshops

14 September 2019 – 19 January 2020

Wednesday – Sunday/Bank Holidays: 10am – 5pm.




This autumn Charleston will launch its first exhibition space, as well as an events space and new restaurant. This 570m2 new development will enable Charleston to present exhibitions for the first time and see it open all-year-round. The exhibition space will be housed in a new building designed by Jamie Fobert Architects, while the events space and restaurant will be situated in two 18th-century farm buildings, restored and redeveloped by Julian Harrap Architects.

The development will launch on 8 September 2018 with the inaugural exhibition ‘Orlando at the present time’, which will present a contemporary response to Virginia Woolf’s renowned novel Orlando: A Biography. The exhibition will be accompanied by two additional displays, ‘Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases’ and the first museum showing of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Famous Women Dinner Service.

The building of the new exhibition space and the restoration of the barns have been made possible thanks to £2.44 million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – thanks to National Lottery players, £650,000 from Coast to Capital LEP, £250,000 from Arts Council England and major grants from the Wolfson Foundation, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, the Monument Trust, the Foyle Foundation and The Ashley Family Foundation, as well as a group of generous individuals.

The Sussex home of artists Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) and Duncan Grant (1885–1978), Charleston farmhouse is the only completely preserved Bloomsbury interior in the world and is considered one of the Bloomsbury group’s finest works of art. Since opening to the public in 1986, its delicate painted interiors and eclectic collection of furniture, textiles, books and ceramics have been enjoyed by over half a million visitors.

The ideas and radicalism of the artists, writers and intellectuals of the Bloomsbury group will be at the heart of Charleston’s new programme, which will interrogate the contemporary relevance of those who lived and worked at Charleston over 100 years ago. Through a mix of contemporary and historic exhibitions, new programming will explore their experimental and international creativity, which pioneered controversial ways of living and of making art. The scope of the group’s specialities, encompassing novelist Virginia Woolf, biographer Lytton Strachey and economist John Maynard Keynes, will allow for a naturally broad range of themes including gender and sexual politics, pacifism and internationalism, interior design and fashion.

The opening exhibition will bring together contemporary artistic responses to Virginia Woolf’s landmark novel Orlando: A Biography and will mark 90 years since its original publication. Works by artists including Kaye Donachie, Paul Kindersley, Delaine La Bas and Matt Smith will be shown alongside rarely seen letters, photographs and objects pertaining to the original publication of the novel. Orlando’s innovative use of a protagonist who appears to change gender has made it an important reference point for those interested in gender and feminist theory and its re-examination at Charleston this autumn will connect both with the Bloomsbury group’s queer history and the ever-increasing interest in discussions about gender.

‘Orlando at the present time’ will be accompanied by two further displays. ‘Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases’ will present a selection of black-and-white photographic portraits from the artist’s well known series documenting black lesbian and transgender individuals from South Africa and beyond. The works on show in this iteration of the series have been specially selected by the artist in response to ‘Orlando at the present time’, in which two of Muholi’s works from the series will also appear.

Also on display will be the first museum showing of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Famous Women Dinner Service. This unique set of 50 plates depicts famous women throughout history, from Cleopatra to Mary Queen of Scots, Jane Austen, Greta Garbo and others. The dinner service was commissioned by Kenneth Clark in 1932 and was made by Bell and Grant during their time at Charleston. The plates will be shown alongisde a number of prototypes and drawings from Charleston’s collection.

The new building by Jamie Fobert Architects has been constructed in cross-laminated timber, making reference to the wooden structure of Charleston’s historic barns yet employing modern fabrication techniques. The building will house a suite of galleries and a retail space. The three cubic galleries echo the proportions of the main living spaces of Charleston farmhouse, communicating a sense of balance and familiarity between the old and the new.

Using traditional techniques, Julian Harrap Architects has restored two adjoining 18th-century farm buildings which were substantially damaged by fire in the 1980s. The Hay Barn will become a flexible events space, which will enable Charleston to present talks and performances, as well as its existing programme of literary festivals and events. The other, the Threshing Barn, will house a new restaurant of that name.

New contemporary farmyard courtyards, allowing visitors to Charleston and the South Downs National Park the opportunity to eat al fresco, have been designed by Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd, who will also oversee the landscape construction over the coming months.

Nathaniel Hepburn, Director and Chief Executive of the Charleston Trust said:

“These new facilities will make Charleston into a public centre for thinking, making, writing and working. Much like the artists who lived here, our programme will be radical, unconventional and international.”

Further information on the opening exhibitions

Orlando at the present time Wolfson Gallery 8 September 2018 – 6 January 2019

Orlando: A Biography is considered one of the most progressive and formally inventive works of fiction of the 20th century. A satirical biography, it describes the adventures of a fictional poet named Orlando whose fantastical travels span four centuries, from the Renaissance to the 1920s. Inspired in part by Woolf’s close friend and lover Vita Sackville-West, who was gender non-conforming, Orlando sees its protagonist change gender from man to woman halfway through the narrative. The novel’s resultant exploration of identity and gender – and its implicit challenge to rigid identity binaries – has made it a crucial reference point in gender theory, from its publication to the present day. First published in 1928, this year marks 90 years of Orlando’s influence.

‘Orlando at the present time’ will explore Virginia Woolf’s problematisation of gender, as well as the continued contemporary relevance of the gender issues raised by the novel and its other themes, such as colonialism and exoticism. New works of visual art responding directly to the text have been commissioned from Paul Kindersley and Delaine La Bas, whilst other works offering thought-provoking reflections on the novel’s concerns will also be on display, by Kaye Donachie, Matt Smith and Zanele Muholi.

Unusually for a novel of this period, Orlando incorporates a series of illustrations and a number of the new commissions respond directly to them. Also on display will be photographs by Annie Leibovitz taken at Monk’s House, Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s country retreat, and Sissinghurst, the home of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson.

The exhibition will also examine the history of the novel itself, its controversial reception and its relation to Virginia Woolf’s own life. Nigel Nicolson, son of Vita Sackville-West, called it the ‘longest and most charming love letter in literature’, whilst Vita Sackville-West’s mother attempted to besmirch Orlando in order to quell rumours of an affair between her daughter and Virginia Woolf.

Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases South Gallery 8 September 2018 – 6 January 2019

‘Faces and Phases’ (2006– ) is an ongoing series of black-and-white photographic portraits by Zanele Muholi, commemorating and celebrating black lesbian and transgender experience. Muholi embarked on this project in 2006, taking portraits of women from the townships of South Africa. In 2008, after the xenophobic and homophobic attacks that led to the mass displacement of people in that country, Muholi decided to expand the series to include photographs of individuals from different countries. Collectively, the portraits can be seen as an act of visual activism.

Describing the project, Muholi has said that ‘Faces and Phases’ is an “insider’s perspective that both commemorates and celebrates the lives of the black queers I have met in my journeys. I set out to establish relationships with them based on a mutual understanding of what it means to be a black member of the LGBTQIA+ community today.”

The Famous Women Dinner Service Spotlight Gallery On display until summer 2019

Charleston will host the first museum display of Vanessa Bell and Duncant Grant’s Famous Women Dinner Service since it was created for Kenneth Clarke in 1932. After this the plates disappeared from public view and their whereabouts was unknown until very recently. The plates were created by Bell and Grant when they lived at Charleston and each plate depicts one famous woman, featuring figures as various as the Queen of Sheba, Sappho, Nell Gwyn, Emily Brontë and Elizabeth I. There are 50 plates in the set, with the final two depicting Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, the only man in the series.

Charleston Festival 2018: Full programme revealed

Highlights include:

Charleston’s heritage is one of artistic innovation and pioneering thinking, an ethos mirrored in this year’s Festival programme. Responding to the current social and political climate, it looks in particular at the achievements and legacies of remarkable women past and present.

In uncertain times there remains much to be celebrated, including 100 years since women first received the vote. Lyndall Gordon discusses her group biography Outsiders, which links five female novelists (Shelley, Brontë, Eliot, Schreiner and Woolf), while Jane Robinson and Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, mark #Vote100.

The paths of feminist writers old and new meet at this year’s Festival, which includes a personal tribute to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando from contemporary author Jeanette Winterson. Vita Sackville-West and Woolf’s decade-long love affair is explored by the former’s granddaughter, Juliet Nicolson, and actress Gemma Arterton who plays Vita in upcoming film Vita and Virginia. They are joined by the film’s director Chanya Button. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s The Famous Women Dinner Service is adapted by writer Ali Smith, who transforms it from decorative ceramics into a work of creative prose.

The centenary of the Representation of the People Act isn’t the only anniversary marked at Charleston Festival 2018, the work of Mary Shelley is also celebrated with biographer Fiona Sampson, cultural historian Christopher Frayling and chemist Kathryn Harkup, two hundred years after the publication of Frankenstein. In the 50th year of The Man Booker Prize the Festival hosts a special debate between three former judges, granting rare insight into the mechanics of judging the UK’s premier literary award.

Making sense of today’s world is also high on the agenda: authors Amanda Craig and Meg Wolitzer dissect current gender and power dynamics, and Misha Glenny and Luke Harding attempt to navigate the realms of corruption, nationalism-fuelled violence and fraud. Playwright Michael Frayn and political commentator John Crace discuss farce and political satire in a time when the relevance of each cannot be overstated, while themes of inequality and prejudice are tackled by Kamila Shamsie, author of Homefire, and Neel Mukherjee, author of A State of Freedom.

This year’s Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize winner Sir David Attenborough, recognised for his outstanding contribution to society, will deliver an illustrated talk addressing the divisive question of whether or not some animals can be described as artists.

Founded by Bloomsbury group artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, art remains a key focus for Charleston.  In this year’s Festival, V&A Director Tristram Hunt will be in conversation with RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete on the stories behind the historic institution’s new Exhibition Road Quarter. Also featuring is Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, who will discuss her ‘wilderness years’ and what she still hopes to achieve, while classical music and art collide in a conversation between leading arts broadcaster Clemency Burton-Hill, and James Hamilton, whose biography of Thomas Gainsborough has made waves in the art world.

Nathaniel Hepburn, Director and Chief Executive of The Charleston Trust, comments:

“The Charleston Festival is always a highlight of the cultural calendar and this year proves to be no exception. The 2018 programme is challenging, entertaining, innovative, radical and rigorous. I am very much looking forward to attending the talks at this, my first Festival since joining Charleston and meeting our festival-goers both loyal devotees and those attending for their first time.”

Diana Reich, Artistic Director of Charleston Festival, comments:

“Charleston was always associated with political and social engagement as well as animated conversation.  Therefore it is no surprise that this year’s Festival includes many events in which the state of the nation and the world is refracted through the prism of fiction, non-fiction, debate and humour. “

Tickets are on general sale from 19 February. The full Festival programme can be viewed at from 6 February



For further information, please contact:

Truda Spruyt or James Douglas at Four Colman Getty

020 3697 4248 /

020 3697 4267 /

Sir David Attenborough – 2018 winner of Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize

The naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has today, Tuesday 6 February, been announced as the winner of the fourth Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. In the spirit of John Maynard Keynes’ work, life and legacy, this global prize recognises Attenborough’s outstanding contribution to society.

From the 1960s as Controller of BBC2 television Sir David Attenborough has brought both nature and the arts to millions. His latest series, Blue Planet II was a cultural event in 2017, achieving the highest viewing figures of any programme that year. Through his broadcasting Attenborough continues to play a vital role in raising awareness of the human impact on the planet, warning against the consequences of climate change and pollution for the natural world and the species that inhabit it.

Attenborough will deliver the annual Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Lecture at Charleston Festival on Monday 21 May. With a nod to the artistic heritage of Charleston, Beauty and the Beasts sees him make use of new video evidence to answer the divisive question of whether some animals can justifiably be described as artists.

Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the advisory panel, comments: “The Keynes Prize recognises outstanding individuals who have used their genius in the service of humanity. 

“David Attenborough’s exceptional gift of communication has made it easy for us all to share his deep understanding of the natural world. He has been our trusted guide and teacher in the air, under the sea, in desert, tundra and jungle with humour, colour, imagination and good science. If our grandchildren inherit a sustainable planet he will deserve their gratitude.”

The winner, Sir David Attenborough, comments: “I am greatly honoured that the Charleston Festival has awarded me its Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. Please give my grateful thanks to those who made the decision.”

Anthony Cooke-Yarborough, CEO EFG Private Bank, comments: “We are delighted that Sir David Attenborough has been chosen as the recipient of the Charleston EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. Throughout a long and illustrious career, Sir David has followed and shared his passion for the planet. He continues to bring a huge amount of can-do energy to his role. The breadth of his expertise and the depth of his influence are very much in the spirit of Keynes’s life and legacy.”

Following his win, Attenborough will receive a sum of £10,000 with the suggestion that he might use it to commission a work of art in any form; Maynard Keynes was a patron of the arts and founder of the Arts Council. Sir David will also give the annual Charleston-EFG Keynes Lecture at the Charleston Festival on Monday 21 May. The full programme for the 2018 Festival is now available at: Other luminaries in the Festival programme include Ali Smith, Alan Hollinghurst, Lubaina Himid, Jeanette Winterson, A C Grayling, Kamila Shamsie and Robert Webb.

The advisory panel comprises Dame Liz Forgan, former Chair of the Scott Trust and of Arts Council England; Simon Keynes, great-nephew of John Maynard Keynes; Professor Michael Proctor, Provost of King’s College, Cambridge; Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, politician and award-winning biographer of Keynes; Helen Park-Weir, Head of Marketing UK at EFG International.

Keynes wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace whilst staying at Charleston and subsequently moved to Tilton, just a stroll across a field away. Keynes embodies the radical and interdisciplinary nature of the Charleston milieu. His The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was recently voted the most influential academic book that has shaped our times.




For further information, please contact

Truda Spruyt or James Douglas at Four Colman Getty on:

020 3697 4248 /

020 3697 4267 /  



Nathaniel Hepburn is appointed as the new Director of Charleston

Nathaniel Hepburn - Director of Charleston

Nathaniel Hepburn – Director of Charleston

The Charleston Trust has today announced that Nathaniel Hepburn has been appointed to the position of Director (Chief Executive) of Charleston, succeeding Alistair Burtenshaw after almost 5-years of leadership. We would like to thank Alistair for his tireless efforts in bringing to fruition the long-awaited Centenary Project, and we wish him well in his new role as Director of Watts Gallery Trust in Surrey. Nathaniel will take up his new position in October 2017.

Professor Michael Farthing, Chair of Trustees at Charleston, said:
“We are delighted that Nathaniel will be joining us at Charleston in October. He is an experienced museum director and curator and has already worked closely with Charleston in the collaboration, Sussex Modernism, earlier this year. The Trustees were confident during the appointment process that Nathaniel has the vision, ambition and energy to take Charleston to the next exciting stage of its development.” 

In his three years as Director of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, and previous 10 years as Curator of Mascalls Gallery in Kent, Nathaniel Hepburn has established a reputation for programming a diverse range of high-quality exhibitions developing a specialism in Modern British Art. Nathaniel has curated over 50 exhibitions which have been shown at some of the best museums and galleries across the country including Barbara Hepworth: The Hospital Drawings (with The Hepworth Wakefield and Pallant House Gallery), William Gear (with Towner, Eastbourne and City Art Centre, Edinburgh) and Cedric Morris & Christopher Wood (with Norwich Castle Museum and Falmouth Art Gallery). At Ditchling, this has extended beyond exhibitions to include developing the exciting Big Steam Print and The Village of Type programme, introducing a programme of residencies for artists, makers, designers and writers, as well as leading the nine Sussex museums and galleries, including Charleston, in bringing Sussex Modernism to Two Temple Place.

Nathaniel also was the recipient of the ‘Businessperson of the Year’ at the Lewes District Business Awards 2017 last night.

Nathaniel Hepburn said:
“Charleston is one of the world’s most important artists’ homes and, in itself, a real work of art. I am honoured to take up the baton to work with Charleston’s staff and Trustee team to preserve and share this treasure. I am similarly thrilled to have the opportunity the new buildings offer us to develop a wide-ranging and world-class programme of exhibitions, talks, events and residencies, as well as a learning programme which shares Charleston with future generations who will love and be inspired by this remarkable Bloomsbury home in the way that I and so many others do.”
During 2018, Charleston will open the latest phase of the ambitious Centenary Project with a large and flexible barn for diverse artistic, literary and arts programming, a new 80-100 seater café and restaurant and beautiful purpose-built new galleries, collection store and archives by Jamie Fobert Architects. The final stage of the capital development, the development of a purpose-built Learning Studio as well as refurbishment of offices and retail spaces, will be completed in the coming years subject to funding.
Notes to editors
Situated in the heart of the South Downs, Charleston was the home of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Pioneers of early 20th century British art, Bell and Grant created a hub of artistic and intellectual activity at Charleston with visitors including Virginia and Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E.M. Forster and many others. Charleston is a unique example of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s decorative style within a domestic context and represents the fruition of over sixty years of artistic creativity, from 1916 to 1978.

Charleston’s Iconic Painted Surfaces – Saved!

Three months ago we set out to raise £25,000, money that would help restore some of Charleston’s wonderful painted interiors. Thanks to generosity of all of our donors we achieved 130% of our target, an incredible £32,554.

In conjunction with the Art Fund and their #arthappens crowd funding platform, several levels of donation ranging from £5 to £995 were available. In return, supporters will receive rewards which range from postcard sets with Charleston’s iconic design motifs to mounted fragments of wallpaper from the Library to an exclusive patterned scarf and tote bag designed by Cressida Bell. Vanessa Bell’s granddaughter.

The key restoration work can now be carried out by March 2016 and will include the paintwork around the window in the Spare Room, the wallpaper in the Library and the Vanessa Bell painted doors in the House Kitchen.  The additional money will all go to ensuring that the restoration, decorations and collection are kept in the best possible condition by the installation of a new state-of-the-art climate control and monitoring system.

Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of The Charleston Trust said

“The Art Fund were tremendously supportive, and we are delighted that the Charleston campaign was their most successful to date, with the largest number of donors and largest percentage of target exceeded to date on the Art Happens platform.  Proving that Charleston and its appeal is as relevant as ever.”

Nigel Newton, Chairman of The Charleston Trust said

“This crowd funding campaign in conjunction with the Art Fund was a new initiative to find new supporters for Charleston. We are thrilled that the campaign exceeded its target. I am particularly grateful to Margaret Atwood for pointing us in the direction of crowdfunding in a conversation we had following her event at the Small Wonder Short Story Festival at Charleston a year ago. We hope to continue to inspire visitors to Charleston with its fine art for generations to come, particularly in our centenary year of 2016 when this restoration work will be completed.”

Carolyn Young, Director of Marketing, the Art Fund, said

Charleston were fantastic to work with on this project and we are over the moon that they not only smashed their target so impressively, but also were able to raise extra funds towards further protecting the building’s extraordinary painted surfaces.  The demand and interest in the project is testament to how crowdfunding can be an excellent fundraising tool for museums, and a huge thank you must go to Charleston’s supporters, and other art-loving members of the public who all so generously supported this campaign.”

Fashion label Burberry credits Charleston as the inspiration behind its autumn/winter 2014 collection, the Bloomsbury Girls, and this summer, BBC2 broadcast a three-part series, Life in Squares. Filmed partly at Charleston, Life in Squares tells the story of Vanessa Bell and her sister, the writer Virginia Woolf, and has brought record numbers of visitors to Charleston this summer.

The Charleston Trust would also like to thank the broadcaster Jon Snow who helped Charleston and the Art Fund launch the crowd funding campaign in July to help restore these key painted surfaces in the House – the only complete Bloomsbury interior in the world – which are in desperate need of restoration and conservation.

Charleston continues to be a hub of creativity and artistic inspiration for the thousands of visitors and contributors each year.  The House and Gardens are open to the public until 1 November 2015 and re-open to the public on the 23 March 2016 for its centenary year, when the restored decorated interiors will be on full display.

For more details on the project, rewards and the restoration project updates this winter – visit: