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Serge Chermayeff's Bentley Wood up for sale

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Serge Chermayeff 's Bentley Wood (1938) in Halland, East Sussex, is up for sale, writes Andrew Mead .On completion, it was hailed as one of the finest Modern Movement buildings in the UK - 'a regular Rolls-Royce of a house', said Charles Reilly (AJ 28.9.38).With its sculpture and paintings (Moore, Nicholson, Piper), and its extensive grounds (on which Chermayeff collaborated with Christopher Tunnard), it fused architecture, art and landscape into a memorable whole.Alan Powers, curator of last year's Chermayeff exhibition, thinks its influence was enduring: 'It remained fresh in the minds of architects even in the 1950s, when most other pre-war Modern houses seemed impossibly dated.'

As the photographs show, though, it has suffered badly over the years:

most obviously on the garden front, with an ill-judged addition (described as a 'library'), and the enclosure of the two central bays of the previously open upper floor balcony.But, however incongruous the present furnishings look, there have not been any major structural changes to the interior, and it would be quite possible for a dedicated new owner to recover the essentials of Chermayeff 's original scheme.

The snag, of course, is the price, given that Bentley Wood comes with 22.68ha of land and long views towards the South Downs.Agent Strutt & Parker seeks offers in the region of £1.4 million, and invites buyers who want 'something a little different in the Sussex countryside' to contact its Lewes office for details (01273 475411).

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