Collections

The house was furnished by Nathaniel and Daisy Lloyd with a mix of solid, hand-crafted furniture that they picked up from salerooms and dealers and much of it dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They chose some tapestries to decorate the walls of the older part of the house and Daisy developed a taste for collecting samplers. Her embroidery skills, and those of her children, were employed to make cushions and seat covers. Much of all this remains, although a portion was sold off in 1994 as part of a family settlement. To fill in some of the resulting gaps, Christopher Lloyd commissioned some striking pieces of contemporary furniture, including a large dining table and chairs and a music table and chairs (see below) from the designer Rupert Williamson. Over a period of years he also acquired some pieces of studio pottery by Alan Caiger-Smith of the Aldermaston Pottery.

A striking feature of the Lloyd family’s time at Great Dixter through the twentieth century was its reluctance to part with anything, however minor. The result is an extraordinary collection of material in the archive that charts the story of the house, the garden and individual family members. Many of the original plans, for example, that were drawn up by Edwin Lutyens during the course of the restoration and extension of the house, survive. Nathaniel Lloyd subsequently became an architect as well as a writer of note on buildings and their history and much of the original material associated with that remains in the archive. He, together with some of his children, was a very keen photographer so the visual documentation of life at Great Dixter is very extensive.  Many thousands of letters by and to family members down through the course of the century are in the collection, as well as countless bills, receipts and correspondence associated with the running of the house. Christopher Lloyd was a master of the written word, whether in notes, letters or published works and that too forms a major element of the archive. Sustained efforts have been made in recent years to house and document the archive appropriately so that it is accessible to researchers.