05 December 2019

Still Life Drama - The Home that Denis Sever Made

The Grade II-listed Georgian terrace house in Spitalfields is named after an artist called Denis Sever who lived in his home as it's first inhabitants might have done in the 18 Century.

It was not just a house for Denis, but a canvas on which he would paint a fictional drama of those who had come before. He didn't want to simply restore the building but

"To bring it to life as my home. With a candle, a chamber pot and a bedroll, I began sleeping in each of the house's ten rooms so that I might arouse my intuition in the quest for each room's soul."

And so from Denis Sever's imagination was born a family of Hugenot silk weavers and the house became a living painting dedicated to their imagined lives. Each of the ten rooms in the house is lit with fire and candlelight and is presented as though the occupant has just left the room. An unfinished meal, a wig on the back of a chair, clues to the identity of the inhabitants are scattered throughout the house. 

Visiting 18 Folegate Street is not a museum trip to marvel at antique furniture, it's a full sensory experience.  The candles enable you to see the house in its original light, here you can experience unique smells and creaking stairs; it's all about the atmosphere. The tours are conducted in silence, it's an extraordinary immersive experience, like stepping into a painting of the past.

Denis has sadly passed away but the magic lives on, his imagination continues to delight and inspire visitors to this day. 

Denis Sever's House is currently dressed up for the festive season with it's annual Christmas Installation.