Broadway Colony --  Russell House, Broadway, 1886
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Russell House
in Broadway, near Worcestershire, England
Photo c. 1886
 Jpg: Bill Grant

The Russell house would be the center of attention and animation of the Broadway colony of artists. This was actually the second home of the Broadway colony. They moved here in 1886 after having lived for a year at Farnham House, which was almost next door. Russell House was quite a bit larger than Farnham House and both Abbey and Sargent partnered with the Millets for a seven year lease.  For Frank Millet, his wife, sister and kids, it became their family's permanent residence. For Sargent and Abbey (both bachelors at the time) they deferred to Frank's wife Lily Millet and his sister Lucia Millet as mistresses of the house. Lily became the informal hostess of the colony and to the Millets came a flock of other guests who would come and go, staying indifferent periods throughout the year either in this house or near at some other lodging. 

This was Sargent's home away from home - his second family and he would make it back to Broadway as much as he could for four straight years. Though he had the Tite Street studio in London, he really preferred Broadway during this period. Still, the demands of his art had him traveling often.


Broadway, The Cotswolds, England


Subject: Sargent at Broadway
From: Bill Grant
Gran tbill
Date: 2/11/01

Dear Natasha, 

An absolutely brilliant site! I am researching a history of Broadway (by the way, we are not on the Avon but have a few streams), do you know why Millet chose Broadway/Farnham House?  . . . .

 . . . I don't know if you have seen my note about Millet and Broadway but I have now read that the connection was Leonard Hutton telling Edwin Abbey and Frank Millet about the village following which, as is well recorded, Abbey and Millet leased Farnham House in 1885 (I presume for a year) before Millet made Russell House (which is almost next door) his home in 1886. However, I need to find out a lot more. 

I have now had a bit more time to look at your site and am full of admiration for what you have done and relate closely to your approach and what you say about the web. I am not an historian, I am actually an investment banker (now reformed!) but but my interests, as well as old cars, are history, architecture and art and I feel that there is a great story to be told about the village of Broadway with the right, top down, approach, and lots of detailed research. Clearly, there are many, many aspects to what I am doing but the American ex-patriate artists make a great story (I had no idea what interesting lives these guys led) and Millet was very important to the village because not only did he renovate and enlarge Russell House, by converting an adjoining barn into a drawing room and studio, in 1900 he rescued Abbots' Grange, one of the oldest buildings in the village, dating from about 1320. It became a studio. 

I must emphasise that it is very early days yet (in what I recon is a two year project) and I am finding huge chunks of information on an almost daily basis but I noticed your comment about maybe doing more work on the lives of people with whom Sargent came into contact and I will be very happy to let you have Broadway stuff as and when it materialises. As you can imagine, my project is very wide ranging, encompassing Anglo Saxon settlements, the dissolution of the monastries, the age of coaching, to name but a few, but at the moment I am fixated with the Victorian artists and in particular the American connection. Having lived in the US for some time, I feel that I have a better perspective than many Brits. and it really is a great story. There is also the Morris/Burne Jones stuff to be keyed in. I am determined that my history will be not only deadly accurate but a good read as well! 

When I have a moment I will e-mail you some nineteenth century photographs of Farnham House, Russell House, the Grange etc. 


Bill Grant 

From: Natasha
Dear Bill,

Sorry I have been out of town and had a load of mail to respond to, but I saved the best for last -- yours. I was so happy and surprised by your correspondence and, of course, thanks so much for your kind remarks about my site -- it's taken a while to put together but I think its' reached critical mass.

Sargent at Broadway interests me a great deal. For me, I think his time there and his associations he formed make it in the top three events in his life (if not higher). I have held off on doing anything about that part of his life because I know so little about Broadway. If you are willing to help with photographs or other input, I'm thrilled to accept the offer -- yes yes yes, I want all of that.

Are you planning a book or a web-published endeavor, such as I have done here? If you want to put it on the web, I would be very interested in helping you with any technical questions or anyway else I can do to help.

From Bill Grant Grant billg ran
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2000
Dear Natasha, 

Farnham House sent again. I will try something different when I'm back if it fails. No other dates I'm afraid but I hope to get more when I track down the originals. 

I liked your Millet piece. It rather sums up my feeling about him and also, slightly differently, the others in that they were dynamic or interesting and generally both! 

Broadway today is a bit of a contradiction, albeit a very pleasant one. There is a number of upmarket galleries but I wouldn't exactly call it arty [Editors Note: I had told Bill I thought it might have been arty]. It has a hunt and a typical village pub next to the church but you can also buy cashmere in the High Street where it is not unusual to see both Ferraris and tractors. 

There was definitely something in the air in the second half of the nineteenth century though, and I am looking forward to trying to capture the spirit of the age on paper. 

Editor's note: [I had asked Bill if he new of any good maps or info on Broadway]

Try this  for interest. Also this for maps  (search "Broadway Worcestershire") 

Bill Grant 


Russell House Today 
Farnham House
Farnham House
c. 1880's
(first Broadway home)

Mrs. Frank Millet

Millet's Garden


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2004 all rights reserved
Created 2/20/2001
Updated 1/5/2004