Le Bois des Moutiers: French Arts & Crafts


Le Bois des Moutiers. An unusual architectural and horticultural gem in Normandy. Unusual, because the house, which has been owned by four generations of the Mallett family, was extensively redesigned by Edward Lutyens (the English architect) and partnered by Gertrude Jekyll who modelled the gardens (her only foray into a continental garden) culminating in both a series of walled rooms and an extensive English landscape park.

The Malletts chose Lutyens because of his association with the Arts and Crafts Movement which held similar ideals to Theosophy (practised by the Malletts) which were both humanist philosophies. Theosophy encapsulates both intellectual and spiritual philosophy based on Buddhism/Brahanism. The environment follows closely the ethos coined by William Morris “to only use things that are either practical or beautiful”. And later the enclave of Varengeville sur Mer, where Les Bois des Moutiers is situated, became a haven for a plethora of artists including Picasso, Erik Satie, Virginia Woolf and many others.

The beauty of the place has perhaps been best encapsulated recently by Franz Potisek, a Parisian interior designer: “Every time I go there I seem to suffer from Stendahl Syndrome, overcome with the emotion of so much beauty and harmony. I am on a cloud for days afterwards.”

Les Bois des Moutiers – a French owned, English enclave in Normandy.

The background music is Gnossienne No.3 by Erik Satie.

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