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A Memory of Jim Ede

Read a memory of Jim Ede by a recent visitor, David Lascelles.

“I had a lovely visit to Kettle’s Yard yesterday. It was wonderful to see it looking much as I remember it 60 years ago.

As a Clare College undergraduate reading Modern Languages, I spent 1964 living at 9 Castle Street, just opposite. I have memories of dropping in to Kettle’s Yard quite casually, and being greeted by Jim who would offer us a cup of tea, and chat about his collection.

Jim had quite an austere appearance: well-chiselled features, a good crop of white hair, and an easy-though-confident manner. He talked particularly about Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Alfred Wallis (both of whom I think he knew). I had never really encountered work of this sort before, and came to appreciate it through Jim.  He loved simplicity in art, and had perfect taste.

Every now and then he would put on a small musical evening upstairs.  I can remember sitting on the floor by the fireplace.  Jim would dress up for the occasion: a dark blue shirt and yellow tie, a thick woollen jacket.”

I had never really encountered work of this sort before, and came to appreciate it through Jim.  He loved simplicity in art, and had perfect taste.

Two ships and steamer sailing past a port - Falmouth and St. Anthony lighthouse, c. 1931 by Alfred Wallis. Photo: © Kettle's Yard
Bird Swallowing a Fish, 1914 by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. Photo: © Kettle's Yard

What was particularly moving about my visit yesterday was how closely the house fitted my memories: the light in the rooms, the feeling of space despite the cottage size, brickiness, the carefully selected pieces of furniture, the pebbles in shades of white and grey, and, of course, the art at knee level.