Posted by: marymarthatours | October 8, 2014

Coleton Fishacre, Art Deco Treasure

While the focus of the May 2014 Spring Gardens of Cornwall and Devon Tour was the fabulous gardens of SW England, we also stopped at other special and fun locations.  Martha has shared her stories of visiting the amazing Cathedrals at Wells and Salisbury and the Abbey at Bath.  And I’ve written about Babbacombe Model Village and the Malvern Flower Show.  (Scroll back or go to the search box to find any of these former blogs.)

We also like to include stately and historic homes on our tours.  For the May 2014 tour we made sure that the homes on the itinerary also had beautiful gardens.  I thought that I’d spend all my time in those gardens, but I was perfectly entranced by the interiors at two houses.


One of these was Coleton Fishacre, a National Trust Site in Devon.  Most of the historic homes that we have visited over the years are from the Elizabethan (Little Moreton Hall), Stuart (Castle Howard), Georgian (Dalemain), or Victorian (Highclere Castle) eras, but Coleton Fishacre is a “modern” house, historically speaking.  It was designed in the mid 1920’s by Oswald Milne, a student of Edwin Lutyens, for the hotelier and theatre impresario, Sir Rupert D’Oyly Carte and his wife Lady Dorothy.  The exterior of the house exemplifies the principles of the Arts & Crafts Movement – simplicity of design, local materials, and quality workmanship. 

To me the most striking feature of Coleton Fishacre is not its gorgeous Arts & Crafts exterior, but the interior rooms which are furnished in the Art Deco fashion of the 1930’s.  Martha and I loved it, but I did hear a number of other visitors (mostly our age or older) muttering that they didn’t much like the style and certainly preferred the “old” houses.  However, for me, Coleton Fishacre is a home that I could easily live in.  And because the National Trust now allows photography at many of its properties, I’m able to share some of its beautiful rooms with you. 

Here are the main living room and the cozy library.        

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And here are the formal dining room with its blue stone table, and my favorite room, the yellow den.

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I especially loved the collection of Arts & Crafts pottery and the beautiful table setting on the dining room table.

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And, oh yes, there is indeed a wonderful garden at Coleton Fishacre.  From the formal terrace and the Rill Garden, the garden follows a stream down a exuberantly planted valley to a secluded cove on the sea coast.  Lady Dorothy planted the original garden with rare and exotic plants collected from her journeys abroad.  Spring was the perfect time to see it. 


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Next time I’ll share my impressions of the other stately home that I really enjoyed, Lanhydrock.

(by Mary)

photo credits:  All photos copyright Mary Wallace, May 2014





  1. I am enchanted. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  2. You’re killing me!

    • Yes, you would have loved this house and garden, Jeri. We’re so sorry you couldn’t be with us. But you can start dreaming about coming with us in 2016 — after a miniature’s tour and a quilt tour in 2015, we’re hoping to do a garden tour totally in Wales in 2016.

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