Jim and Helen Ede lived at Kettle’s Yard until 1973, before returning to Edinburgh. Ede’s determination to introduce his art to as many people as possible had led to his decision to gift the house and its contents to the University of Cambridge in 1966, in whose possession it remains. The Edes expressed the desire that Kettle’s Yard and its collection would remain as they were when they lived there; a place in which art and nature intertwine and become ‘a way of life’. The house now welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year to come as often as they like. They ring the clanging doorbell, sit in the creaking chairs, smell the delicate lemon pelargoniums and watch the rainbowed light refracted onto paintings and pebbles, making the Edes’ home truly alive, or in Jim’s words ‘a space, an ambience, a home’.
Words by Susy Oram. Images by Liz Seabrook.
The quotations in this article are taken from Jim Ede’s correspondence in the archive at Kettle’s Yard and from his book A Way of Life, available from Kettle’s Yard Shop.
About Kettle’s Yard
Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge was the home of Jim and Helen Ede between 1957 and 1973. Housed inside four converted eighteenth-century workers’ cottages with a 1970s extension, its permanent collection includes works by Constantin Brancusi, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Joan Miró. A further extension by Jamie Fobert Architects was opened in 2018 and includes two gallery spaces which seek to continue Jim Ede’s support for emerging and established artists and host an exhibition programme which has included the work of Louise Bourgeois, Antony Gormley and Oscar Murillo.