The Duchess of Cornwall has been Patron of the Charleston Trust since 2013 and hosted a tea for the supporters of the Charleston Centenary Project in March 2017. The Charleston Centenary Project was launched to safeguard Charleston’s heritage, and marked the centenary of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s arrival at Charleston. On 8 September 2018, Charleston opened its doors to a new exhibition, events space and café/restaurant. This 570m2 development has enabled Charleston to present exhibitions for the first time and to open all-year-round. The exhibition space is housed in a new building, while the events space and café/restaurant is situated in two 18th-century farm buildings which have been restored.
Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Famous Women Dinner Service is a unique set of 50 plates depicting famous women throughout history, from Cleopatra to Mary Queen of Scots, Jane Austen, Greta Garbo and Elizabeth I. There are 50 plates in the set, with the final two depicting Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, the only man in the series. The Dinner Service was commissioned by Kenneth Clark in 1932 and was made by Bell and Grant during their time at Charleston. After this the plates disappeared from public view and their whereabouts were unknown until recently.
Coast to Capital contributed £650,000 Local Growth Fund towards the project to expand the site and refurbish the existing building to allow for an increase in visitor capacity, exhibitions and events.