The most perfect room in England

I’m a big fan of rooms that are frozen in time, especially if they feature papers, or maps, or books, or push pins, or typewriters (Cabinet War Room anyone…). When you add Vita Sackville-West to this equation, and factor in the idyllic setting at Sissinghurst and the fact that her study is up in a tower, the whole concept starts to reach a ridiculous level of perfection. A room frozen in 1962, chock full of books, art, and a cozy chaise-longue.

During our week-long stay at Sissinghurst I visited Vita’s study in the tower on three separate occasions. Happily, each time I went it was late enough in the day that no other visitor was blocking the view and no one was waiting to see the view so I could stare to my heart’s content. Since you can’t actually walk into the room, my only regret is that I didn’t have binoculars to get a better look at the titles on the shelves. But I did stand there, probably with my mouth open, fantasizing about the space being mine. I would have settled for a couple of hours inside to browse the shelves and take a closer look at everything.

Bottom line is that it is the perfect room for me. I will let the pictures speak for themselves, with one exception. They keep the curtains drawn to preserve the books, art, and textiles, but the room has large banks of windows on both sides of the tower, which would make it a very light room–and one with cross breezes.

Without being able to go into the room, it is hard to take a good picture through the metal gate . This is the best I could do. To the left, up against the wall where the door is is Vita’s desk. To the right is the chaise-longue, and directly ahead is what I call the book cove.
There is not an element of this room that I don’t love.
Vita’s study is behind the large bank of windows on the lowest level, just above the gate that goes under it.
Imagine those curtains open, light and breeze streaming in, laying on the chaise reading a book (or napping).
I was particularly taken by the print in the middle and the painting above it.
Never have I coveted a space more.
Scroll down further for a professional photo of the book cove, which is much taller than this photo would suggest.
The desk, which is immediately to the left of the door, and very hard to photograph through the grill.
I love the rack next to the desk for reference books, things I’m working on at the moment…
Perfect clutter.
The chair in the foreground gives you an idea of the relationship of the desk to the rest of the room.
Anything there you want to read? Makes me question my current weeding policy. Maybe I need to go back to keeping everything.
Vita bought the blue ceramics on a trip to Persia. She gave one piece of it to Virginia Woolf–whose photo sits prominently on Vita’s desk.
This is a fantastic book. It has amazing photos of the study (and other rooms of Vita’s) that show all the things I didn’t have access to.
A much better look at the book alcove from the Strachey book.

10 thoughts on “The most perfect room in England

  1. anthonyfcatanzariti July 4, 2019 / 11:03 pm

    If you have ever seen Kenneth Branagh’s film, Hamlet, look carefully at Hamlet’s study. I read somewhere the pains Branagh went to, to ensure that everything in it, reflects the personality of its subject. It’s a room I could sit and be happy in.


  2. readerlane July 4, 2019 / 11:15 pm

    I’ll take it! Thanks for sharing your Sissinghurst adventures. I’m green with envy.


  3. BookerTalk July 5, 2019 / 4:13 am

    I could just about be persuaded to live here. :)
    Does it come with a cleaner cos no way do I want to be wasting my time dusting all those books,


  4. anon July 5, 2019 / 8:20 am

    I always dust my books eamd shelves every 8 weeks.


  5. Liz Dexter July 5, 2019 / 11:57 am

    THE WINDOWSILL. Sorry. I’m sure you could go in the study when I were a lass, but it’s all a lot more popular now. It is indeed the perfect room. Love it – thank you for sharing.


  6. TravellinPenguin July 7, 2019 / 6:45 am

    Love no make that, LOVE this room. Thank you for sharing. The last famous persons “space” I visited was the office of Charles Schultz, creator of Peanuts outside Novato California last September at the museum. It had all those wonderful stationery supplies, inks, a library of art though ver different from Vita’s.


  7. Mary Arth July 7, 2019 / 9:56 am

    Live love love! I can smell the books. Makes me want to redo my library!


  8. Susan in TX July 12, 2019 / 6:52 pm

    Oh my. Yes, the perfect room. That rack by the desk is one of my favorite features. Maybe the way to gain access to view the titles more closely would be to volunteer to dust the space — you know someone has that job. :)


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