New tourism award for the house that hosted Picasso

Hidden gem ... the fireplace in the dining room at Farleys House. Photograph by Tony Tree
Hidden gem ... the fireplace in the dining room at Farleys House. Photograph by Tony Tree

A visitor attraction set in a house which hosted leading figures from the world of modern art has landed a prestigious tourist award – for the second year running.

Farleys House and Gallery in Chiddingly, near Lewes, has again been named by tourism body Visit England as one of its ‘hidden gems’ – the third time it’s received the accolade.

The house was home to Lee Miller, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and her surrealist painter husband Sir Roland Penrose.

Their pictures are displayed in the house along with works by some of the famous artists they entertained there, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Eileen Agar, Bridget Riley and Man Ray.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “To receive this award for two years running is a tremendous accolade for everyone concerned.

“Farleys is truly one of the county’s hidden gems and its very pleasing to see the hard work and high standards set by its owners and staff being recognised once again.

“Tourism is one of the most important industries in East Sussex and attractions such as Farleys play a vital role in attracting visitors to the county and boosting our economy.”

The house has been left largely as it was when occupied by Miller and Penrose, and is owned and managed by the couple’s son, Antony Penrose, and granddaughter Ami Bouhassane.

Ms Bouhassane said: “Sharing our family home with the public is a very personal for us and our small dedicated team. To win the ‘hidden gem’ award for the third time is fantastic.

“It, along with our international exhibitions and reputation for a quality experience is encouraging more people to discover us.”

Farleys is part of an East Sussex tourism sector which is valued at around £1.75 billion a year, employs around 47,000 people and accounts for around a quarter of all jobs and a fifth of all businesses in the county.

It reopens for its summer season on April 7, when it will be open every Sunday from 10.30am to 3.30pm for 50-minute guided tours, while it also hosts group visits during the week.

This year, it is also hosting a new exhibition, Lee Miller In Colour, the first complete exhibition ever to feature Miller’s lesser known works in colour, some of which date back as early as the 1930s.

More information is available online at www.farleyshouseandgallery.co.uk or by calling 01825 872856.