If you are visiting Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane on a Sunday, you might like to take time out, and explore instead, a rather strange house; Dennis Severs’ House – 18 Folgate Street.
The early 18th century house was bought by an American artist, Dennis Severs, in the late 1970s. He lived in his house alongside an imaginary family of Huguenot silk weavers, called Jervis, creating in the process an entire world that can still be experienced today.
Rather than looking at a painting, Severs’ intention is that you, the viewer, are plunged in to a painting, or to be more exact, a sensory experience. As you move silently and slowly up through the house, it is as if members of the family leave each room, just before you enter. There is food on the tables, wine in the glasses, you can hear voices through adjoining walls and horses and carts trundling along the street outside.
The house motto is “You either see it, or you don’t” creating what Severs described as “still life drama” allowing visitors the rare chance to loose themselves in another time, whilst appearing to be in their own.
Dennis Severs’ House is currently open on Monday and Wednesday evenings (booking is essential) and on Sunday afternoons, when you can just turn up.
address: 18 Folgate Street
E1 6BX London
phone: 020 7247 4013
website: Dennis Severs’ House
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