Barley Splatt Country Life 1985-3



Clive Aslet

Published in Country Life May 1985

Illustrations by Mark Fiennes

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Barley Splatt Country Life 1985A

The painter Graham Ovenden moved to Barley Splatt, on the edge of Bodmin Moor, 11 years ago. He has been building and decorating the house himself, to be a setting for his collection of High Victorian furniture.
When you wake up at Barley Splatt, you may well feel bemused. For a moment you may want to ask what time it is, where you are. As the room is lit only by two slits of windows, one of which is filled with red glass and the other with green, the light has a mysterious quality which remains constant throughout the day. The ceiling is high, but slopes not on one or two but all four sides, making the room a truncated pyramid. With every surface panelled in wood you have a slightly Alice Through the Looking Glass sense of being inside a cigar box--a not disagreeable sensation. Outside the only sounds are the birds, the river and cockerels. It could be dawn or the middle of the afternoon. All very disconcerting to a town-dweller.