At home with..artist William Watson-West

William Watson-West at home working on his paintings, www.watsonwest.comWilliam Watson-West at home working on his paintings,
William Watson-West at home working on his paintings,
Artist William Watson-West is one of 101 artists taking part in North Yorkshire Open Studios, June 1 and 2 and June 8 and 9.

Describe your home? My family home is an 18th century farmhouse with stone floors, rustic walls and a recently converted barn, which is a flexible open space where I now paint and hang my work. The interior of the main house is a quirky mixture of traditional country style, which has gradually evolved from a collection of auction room finds, inherited furniture and artwork made by family members and collected over the years.

What is on your interiors wish list? For me, one can never have too much art so a landscape painting by Ivon Hitchens would be my dream. His evocative abstract pieces with bold use of colour resonate strongly with me.

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Which household items could you not live without and why? The AGA, although some might say it is inefficient and out-dated, it is the heart of the home, offering warmth and character. I can’t imagine living in a house without a piano. Music brings life and soul to the home.

William's painting, Autumn near LindleyWilliam's painting, Autumn near Lindley
William's painting, Autumn near Lindley

Which designers do you most admire? Artist and designer Mark Hearld has been a longstanding inspiration of mine. My parents and I have several pieces of work by him and, to some extent, our home reflects his distinctive style. I have always admired the work of William Morris. I became particularly familiar with his designs whilst studying Textile Design at Edinburgh College of Art and I have also been beguiled by his poetry.

What is your favourite building? It is hard to choose one building as I appreciate so many. One of my favourite houses is Athelhampton, near Dorchester, with parts dating back to the Tudor period. I first visited when I was eight-years old and its Grade 1 Listed hall and gardens left a lasting impression on me. I often frequent the ruins of Fountains Abbey and every time I am struck by its magnificent beauty. It’s the perfect place to reflect and think of new artistic endeavours. The Hepworth Wakefield, designed by Sir David Chipperfield, is a modern building that I am a huge fan of, proving that modern architecture can be just as dramatic and powerful in an urban setting.

Is there anything exciting you at the moment in terms of design? The regeneration of former industrial buildings into cultural and community hubs is something that excites me. Sunny Bank Mills is a particular example. Whilst I have a strong affection for old and traditional design, I think the way in which modern design can inspire communities and bring people together is wonderful and there is a growing trend for this.

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What and where is your ideal home? I am very fortunate to live where I do now with my family. Over the years my parents have put a lot of work into the beautiful garden and the views across the Washburn Valley are wonderful. To live in such an idyllic spot in Yorkshire and yet be so close to Harrogate, Otley

The Hepworth, Wakefield, is one of William's favourite buildingsThe Hepworth, Wakefield, is one of William's favourite buildings
The Hepworth, Wakefield, is one of William's favourite buildings

and Leeds is hard to beat. My dream would be to have a house with a wine cellar, wine being another of my passions. My ideal home would have to be in the countryside, probably in Yorkshire.

Who would you most like to invite to dinner? Being a bit of a foodie I would love to invite the chef, Raymond Blanc. He is such a warm and well-respected gentleman with heaps of experience.

*Contact: North Yorkshire Open Studios,; William Watson-West,