Art, Antiques and Design in Rye

posted in: Destinations | 4

This week, with a friend, I had a short two-day break in Rye, a small historical town on the south coast of England. Rye is just charming.  It has cobbled streets, ancient buildings and a fascinating maritime history from kings to notorious smuggling gangs who frequented its inns like the ancient Mermaid Inn.

With regard to teahouses and restaurants, we fell in love with Edith’s House.  It is decorated as your granny’s house.  The owners have cleverly used different patterned wallpaper to define the various areas within the long narrow single room space.  There is a lounge complete with sofas and knitting needles, a workroom with a singer sewing machine and so the theme continues with old-fashioned family portraits on the wall.  The food was tasty, the service friendly and the guinness cake, divine!  We ate dinner at Simply Italian, the atmosphere is authentic and the pizzas are first class.

Rye is famous for its antique and charity shops.  If, like me, you enjoy hunting for treasures and bargains then Rye is the place for you.  With a charity shop on almost every street and several themed antique shops from glassware to furniture to retro, the temptations are a plenty.  I mostly resisted but caved in when I spotted two intricately carved ethnic wooden birds.  They are now at home on my mantelpiece.

On the art and design front there are several galleries and home décor shops.  The Rye Art Gallery is probably the best known and has an impressive display spread over three floors.  A bit pricey but, the quality of the art is excellent.  A breathe of fresh air, situated on a corner just off the high street, is the design shop Four Doors.  The owner has an excellent eye for design and the items on display are topnotch.  There is so much to fall in love with but what really caught my eye were the quirky bird illustrations by the artist Matt Sewell.  Being sold as life sized wooden postcards I just had to have one of each.  They would look great framed and hung together as tiny art works.

All and all a wonderful trip and definitely a location to return to…




4 Responses

  1. This is so very interesting. I am going to Rye at the beginning of October with a friend and I am definitely going to visit the places you have suggested. They all sound great.
    Thank you for this.

  2. Eileen Orpen van Dyk

    Dear Martin, I am so excited for your art dreams to come to life. You were always interested in all the creative hobbies I did. You were my art friend. I have a wonderful job where I can still practice my creativity. Have recently been the co-producer of a wonderful concert – Innie Bos (Into the Woods). I had to design costumes and make them or just did alterations or added braids, beads or whatever. I also advised the dekor team and enjoyed all this creativity. Hardly slept for a few nights as I was planning. I also did all the music editing and sound effects. I was in my 7’th heaven when the concert eventually became a reality. Had a professional lighting and sound team from Cape Town. Three performances and all is dusted and gone. Martin I love your art collection and good luck with your artattracted website. Eileen

    • Hi Eileen. Yes you certainly have been an inspiration. I am sure the concert was a great success. Glad you love the bird art, they have so much character. Many thanks for the well wishes. Martin

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