About Hilles House
Hilles House stands majestically on the edge of Gloucestershire’s rolling Cotswold hills, surveying 5 counties from its breath-taking promontory. It’s flanked by generous lawns on both sides and bordered by great yew hedges, dry stone walls and carefully tended flower and shrub beds and sits in a private estate comprising 1000 acres.
The building was constructed between 1914-1916 and is in many ways the greatest work of the elder Detmar Blow. His many projects exemplify the style and new ideas of the time and of his friends and colleagues, including the legendary William Morris and John Ruskin.
Hilles House Founding Principles
Hilles has always embodied a culture of creativity. It was conceived, designed and built upon Fabian principles, which promoted the ethics of an egalitarian life for all through improving social justice, establishing a universal health-care system and reforming imperialism.
I have got to know this house by living here through the seasons and have seen the different way in which the light works in the house; each room has an entirely different quality and the whole house has an extraordinary magnetic draw.
When it was originally built out on its promontory it was an act of daring that I think still thrills to this day. It is certainly a house that requests vision and creativity from the people who visit and live there – and what is most interesting to observe is that largely speaking this is exactly what it has done.
Detmar’s partner, filmmaker Martha Fiennes
quoted in ‘Secret Houses of the Cotswolds‘ by Jeremy Musson.
People at Hilles House
The house and its gardens are a great example of buildings in the Arts & Crafts vernacular. Both interior and exterior express a sense of romanticism, drama, beauty, creativity and originality.
Hilles House has always attracted creativity and creative people. Detmar Blow’s late wife, Isabella Blow was a hugely celebrated visionary of the fashion industry. She is widely recognised for her extraordinary gift for perceiving and encouraging great creative talent, often at its raw and early stage.
She ‘discovered’ one of the twentieth century’s greatest ever fashion designers, Alexander McQueen who she hosted regularly at Hilles House and which is often cited as a place of great inspiration for him. Other luminaries who were creatively and personally close to Isabella is the superlatively talented hat designer, Philip Treacy.
She is also credited as being the person to ‘spot’ the potential of supermodels Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl, encountering them ‘on the street’ and thereafter creating their careers. The house has hosted numerous gifted people from across the creative industries – including Bryan Ferry, Tracey Emin, Gregor Muir, Malcom McLaren and Tim Burton.
Detmar Blow is keen to encourage and support creative and cultural enterprise at the house, including open air cinema, theatre and musical groups and art and sculpture/installations.