LIII—No. 15 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE: (Formerly No. 8 Queen Square).
Ground Landlord, etc.
The freehold belongs to Lord Colum Edmund Crichton-Stuart. The
premises are in the occupation of Mr. Edward Hudson.
This house was also included in the transaction of 1726 between the
Trustees under the South Sea Company Act and George Harrison. For
£1080 the latter purchased (fn. 1) the sixth house on the south side of the square,
in occupation of the Widow Byerly. The house is described as "containing
in front 13 feet 7 inches, with a returne 18 feet 10 inches, and in depth
35 feet 8 inches and at the returne 13 feet 6 inches," having three storeys
with three rooms on each floor, and a little hall with a kitchen, washhouse
and other conveniences below stairs, and garrets in the roof. A yard behind
27 feet 4 inches deep, a vault, and the iron railing on each side of the door,
are also mentioned.
These premises form the original south-eastern end to the square
(Plate 109), and are L-shaped on plan, their principal rooms looking westward down the square.
The present entrance has double doors beneath a semicircular fanlight
with radiating bars, and is probably not the original opening, as it is not
central with the window above, and is treated in a different manner from
the other doorways on this side of the square. The two iron lamp-brackets
to the railings are interesting survivals.
The interior of the premises was redecorated in 1908, under the direction of Sir Edwin Lutyens, R. A., when the present occupant took possession,
and was made to harmonise with the original decorations of the house, which
were still to be seen in some of the rooms, though the major portion of the
interior at the time was in a very dilapidated condition. Interior views are
illustrated which show the treatment of some of the rooms (Plates 109 and
Condition of Repair.
According to the ratebooks the occupiers of this house before 1840 were:—
|1713||Earl of Leicester.|
|1724–28||Bishop of Norwich.|
|1760–63||Mrs. Kennersley (Kynnersley).|
|1766–72||Col. (General) Fawcett.|
|1792–95||Mrs. F. Reynolds.|
The first resident in this house was no doubt Charles Shales, the builder of the square.
The Earl of Leicester who is shown in residence in 1713 must have been John Sydney,
the 6th earl. He succeeded his brother Philip in the earldom in 1705 and died in 1737.
The Bishop of Norwich from 1725 to 1727 was John Long, who in the latter year was
succeeded by William Baker, born in 1668. Baker was educated at Crewkerne College and
Wadham College, Oxford, of which he became Fellow and afterwards Warden. In 1723
he was made Bishop of Bangor and four years later was translated to Norwich. He died in
1732. If the ratebook can be relied on, he continued for a short while his predecessor's tenancy
of the house in Queen Square, but without some confirmation (which has not been found) from
another source this must be considered doubtful.
For particulars of General Fawcett, see p. 51.
For particulars of Bennet Langton, see p. 39.
Frances Reynolds, the youngest sister of Sir Joshua Reynolds, was born in 1729. She
herself enjoyed some kind of repute as a painter, though Dr. Johnson was not very pleased with
the portrait which she painted of him. She acted as her brother's housekeeper for many
years after he came to London, but this connection was severed several years before his death.
After the latter event "she took a large house in Queen's Square, Westminster, where she
"exhibited her own works, and where she died, unmarried, on 1st November, 1807." (fn. 2)
The first part of this statement is confirmed by the ratebooks, which show the house in occupation of "Mrs. F. Reynolds" from 1792 to 1795 and 1797–98. "Jas. Reynolds" of 1796
is probably a mistake, for Boyle's Court Guide for that year shows "Mrs. Reynolds" in respect
of No. 8 Queen Square. Miss Reynolds therefore occupied the house continuously up to
1798. The house is, however, definitely marked "E" (Empty) from that time until 1801
when the name of John Avery appears. It is possible that she was resident for a time at No. 3
Queen Square, the name of "Mrs. Reynolds" appearing in respect of that house in both the
ratebook and Boyle's Court Guide for 1800. In face, however, of the contemporary statement (fn. 3)
that she died "in Queen Square, Westminster," the omission of her name from the ratebooks
and the issues of the Court Guide for the intervening years is difficult to explain, except on the
supposition that she was no longer a householder.
In the Council's Collection are:—
General exterior of premises (photograph).
(fn. 4) General exterior of premises (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. 4) General exterior of premises (measured drawing).
(fn. 4) Interior showing dining-room (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. 4) Interior showing drawing-room on first floor (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. 4) Interior showing front bedroom on second floor (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. 4) Ground and first-floor plans (measured drawing).