“If one were asked to sum up in a few words the scope and purposes of Mr. Voysey’s work, one might say that it consists mainly in the application of serenely sane, practical and rational ideas to home making.” — architect M.H. Baillie-Scott, The Studio magazine, 1908
Located in Surrey, about an hour’s drive southwest of London, the house known as Norney Grange was designed by one of the greatest English architects of all time, Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941). While he mostly produced large country houses in the Arts and Crafts style, his influence can still be found in almost any 1920s-1930s English suburb today. A multidisciplinary creative, he also designed furniture, wallpapers, fabrics, carpets, tiles, metalwork, ceramics, bookplates, and more, often to complement the house he was architecting.
Norney Grange was designed in 1897 for a well-off clergyman, the Reverend Leighton Crane. Any clergy now interested in buying it would have to be very well-off indeed, as the 21-acre property is available with Savills estate agents Theo James-Wright and Alastair Mercer for princely sum of around $11 million. In addition to the 11-bedroom main house, there’s the two-bedroom Norney Lodge, and a three-bedroom stable cottage. (In the context of an English country house, a lodge is typically a smaller house that often acts as a gatehouse and may well shelter a gardener or gamekeeper. Norney Lodge was built before the main house, and Reverend Crane lived there while the main house was being built.)
Norney Grange exhibits many of the characteristics for which Voysey is best known: long, low proportions, which he believed was more homelike than tall, narrow buildings, as well as asymmetry. Symmetry is associated with classical architecture, while Voysey preferred the look of older vernacular English homes. Hence, inside the house and the garden, Voysey mixes circles, bays and ellipses with straight lines and rectangles, and he juxtaposes curves and straight lines, making for a lively composition.