Where Picasso was refused a pint

Pictured is Sir Roland examining one of the wondrous carvings in his country garden.
Pictured is Sir Roland examining one of the wondrous carvings in his country garden.

ROUSER never had the honour of meeting the late, great, surrealist artist Sir Roland Penrose but he occasionally visited his former home, Farley Farm House in Chiddingly, where his son Anthony still holds sway.

Pictured is Sir Roland examining one of the wondrous carvings in his country garden.

Roland Penrose, his wife Lee Miller and their son Antony moved to Farley Farm House in 1949 and the house soon became a meeting place for the leading figures in the world of modern art.

Pablo Picasso visited in 1950, and Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Man Ray, Echaurren Matta and Antoni Tapies visited from overseas while Eileen Agar, Kenneth Armitage, William Turnbull, John Craxton and Richard Hamilton formed the British contingent.

Works by many of these artists are displayed in the house in a selection that regularly changes as items are loaned to exhibitions around the world.

For the most part, the house is just as it was when it was occupied by the Penrose family with the same furnishing and décor. Lee Miller’s kitchen looks as though she has just popped out to gather vegetables from the garden and Roland Penrose’s study only lacks the aroma of his cigar smoke.

Because of the unique intimacy of Farley Farm House all present public tours are guided.

Rouser has fond memories of a story about Picasso’s first visit.

The great artist went to the local Chiddingly pub for a beer but discovered he didn’t have any British currency.

He instead offered to draw a picture for a pint. The landlord in the great Sussex tradition refused what might been a picture worth a 10,000 pints and told him to leave!