Russell-Cotes House:the most eccentric small museum in England

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is just up the hill from the hideous Imax building in Bournemouth and head towards Boscombe.

russell cotes house

If you want to spend an hour of quiet reflection after the noise of the town centre then this is the place to go.

The house was built by Sir Merton and his wife Annie as is one of the last Victorian villas in Bournemouth.The house and it's contents were gifted to Bournemouth Borough Council on their death. Entry is via the East Cliff Promenade not Russell Cotes Road at the back.As the house is on a hill you enter at the bottom of the house and work your way upwards.

Entry is free.A guide to the house is for sale at the front desk.Then you go up via either the stairs or lift to the first floor which houses the shop and cafe.Passing that you will enter the house proper.What a mavel it is.

You can tell this couple were quite eccentric.Each room is full of artifacts brought back from their extensive travels to Russia,Japan,Hawaii and the Middle East.

There are paintings by Dante Rossetti and Edwin Long as well as one room devoted to female artists such as Evelyn De Morgan and Louise Joplin.

There are also temporary exhibitions.When I was there Japanese metalwork and the use of flock in art and design was on display.Right at the top of the house which is actually at street level,you can find Sir Merton's study and Lady Russell-Cotes' boudoir which is very pink.

Did you know boudoir come from the French verb bouder meaning to pout or sulk?Women sulk?Never.

All the while as you look out from the house you can enjoy the sweeping views of the English Channel from the Isle of Wight to the Isle of Purbeck (not an island as I have said elsewhere)

After leaving the museum you can enjoy the garden which is not that extensive then out of the gate back to the noise of a modern city.

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm.

For more information go to the museum website

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