shades of autumn
I get very excited about shooting artists’ homes because they often express themselves through their home as much as they do their work; they are often collectors of other artists’ pieces, too, so I know there will be some interesting displays to photograph. But when I found out that artist Victoria Hall loved autumnal gourds and foliage as much as I do, I knew this would be a very special shoot…
As someone who often dreams of leaving London for a life in the country, I feel a little tug in my tummy when I meet someone who has actually gone for it! When you have the safety of an office job, it can be an even bigger, scarier leap to give it all up to follow a dream, but having children is a life-changer, and once you’ve crossed the threshold into the unchartered world of parenthood everything else becomes a little less daunting by comparison.
Victoria Hall had a pretty great career as a picture editor, but with her natural artistic talents and credentials to back up her skills (she has an MA from the Chelsea College of Art & Design), she knew she’d be able to figure out a new way of making a living. So, Victoria and her husband Dan swapped city life for the Suffolk countryside when they found this incredible farmhouse, which came with plenty of land for free-range chickens and children, and space to grow seasonal flowers and pumpkins.
‘I grew up in Suffolk, and still have family here, so I know the area well,’ says Victoria, ‘but if you are thinking of relocating somewhere new it would be worth renting for a while rather than buying straightaway to make sure you are actually ready to settle there.’
The oldest part of Victoria and Dan’s home dates back as far as c1570, but the kitchen was added in the Victorian period, while the façade is Georgian. Inside, Victoria has decorated in mostly neutral shades to respect the ancient beams, but she’s added a vibrant shade (Stiffkey Blue by Farrow & Ball) in the sitting room.
Victoria says: ‘Be brave with colour, but bear in mind all the other elements: the amount of light from windows, the amount of woodwork to highlight the colour, plus pictures, cushions and other accessories you want to keep in the mix.’
Victoria has successfully incorporated colourful accessories from various sources throughout the house, including ikats by Nicky Heard, a few of her own bird-themed paintings and homewares that she sells through her online store, Cluck Cluck! and of course vibrant pumpkins and gourds for our seasonal shoot.
The larger pieces of art on display are a real mix of Victoria’s own quirky photographs (‘Wig Stock’ in the kitchen and ‘Raphael Before Reynolds’ in the sitting room), a few contemporary paintings (including one by Arabella Shand above the sofa in the sitting room) and classic oils collected over the years.
This house ticks all the boxes: country setting, period features, and an inspiring interior; Victoria’s home was a joy to photograph, especially dressed for my favourite season. As photographer Rob would say: ‘Gourd-geous!’