By Georgina Parfitt
Charleston Farmhouse sits in a valley of the South Downs at the end of a long dirt road, marked private, which carves and winds around ditches of old trees. The house looks out upon farms and grazing, and just a little farther, the town of Lewes, East Sussex.
Being mostly pacifists, the Bloomsbury set conscientiously objected to national service in the First World War, so the house at Charleston was bought in 1916 and there the group stayed, making the farmhouse a sanctuary for the things it believed in: literature, art, discussion, and new ways of doing things. They covered their sanctuary with pictures, portraits of each other, printed patterns on the tables and the ceilings and the chairs.
‘The house seems full of young people in very high spirits, laughing a great deal at their own jokes,’ Vanessa Bell wrote.
Surprisingly, the same is true of…