The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) approved on Thursday a new donation to the Benaki Museum to fully cover the repair works and the restoration of the Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor House as well as its equipment, near the picturesque village of Kardamyli, in southern Peloponnese, the museum said.
Fermor, a British author, intrepid traveler and decorated soldier, gained prominence from his role in the Cretan resistance during the Second World War and his two best-known books, A Time of Gifts (1977) and Between the Woods and the Water (1986), which recalled his travels across Europe in the 1930s.
In 1996, Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor bequeathed their home to the Benaki Museum with the intention that the house’s ownership would be transferred to the Museum after their death. According to the expressed desire of the Leigh Fermors and the donation contract, the house can be used to host intellectuals and scholars (writers, researchers, artists, poets, etc) who are looking for a quiet and hospitable place to work. In order to cover the operating expenses of the house, the Benaki Museum also has the right to lease the property for a period of three months per year.
“This unique property will operate as a venue that will host important personalities of literature and art, but also as an educational center in cooperation with educational institutions in Greece and abroad,” the museum said in a press release.
The foundation had initially funded the economic and technical study, which was based on the initial proposal of the Benaki Museum for the future functioning of the Fermor house, whose ownership passed on to the museum after the donor’s death in the autumn of 2011.