CXIV.—CHEYNE HOUSE, UPPER CHEYNE ROW.
Ground landlord, leaseholder, etc.
The property is partly glebe land, and partly in the ownership of
Geo. Matthey, Esq. The house has been untenanted for many years.
General description and date of structure.
Cheyne House, which is now in a derelict condition, consists of two
or three different blocks of buildings, none of which appear to date from
earlier than the 18th century. The original house, built about 1715 for the
widowed Duchess of Hamilton (daughter of Digby, Lord Gerard) was
perhaps set back from the road, within the garden, but the buildings in the
rear of the present house have been altered from time to time. The eastern
wall is covered with fleur-de-lys, but they have all probably been affixed by
Dr. Phené, who used the house and garden as a museum. The principal
part of the house fronts Upper Cheyne Row, and appears to date from about
1750. It is of two storeys with an attic lighted by dormer windows in the
roof. The sash windows are arranged symmetrically and the entrance has
a charming doorway with pediment and pilasters enclosing an arched
opening. The front wall is of stock brick, finished with a parapet, and there
is a deep bay window on the eastern side towards the garden.
The interior is rapidly falling to pieces, several floors having given
way. The fireplaces and other internal features are all of mid-18th-century
Condition of repair.
The whole house is in a dilapidated condition.
The property of the Earls of Shrewsbury (fn. 1) extended from Cheyne Walk, northwards, to the glebe, which takes in part of the grounds of Cheyne House. It has
been surmised (fn. 2) that there was a back way to Shrewsbury House from the King's
Road, through Cook's Ground (Glebe Place), but it does not seem likely that the
gates from Glebe Place into the grounds of Cheyne House were placed there before
the latter was built. Nor can we find any evidence of a house having been built
here before the way was opened up by the making of Cheyne Row (1708) and
Upper Cheyne Row (1715).
Cheyne House, during the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th,
was a school, and is marked on Thompson's map as "Cheyne House Academy."
Faulkner says (fn. 3) it was carried on in 1829 by Dr. Felix, and formerly by Mr. Edwards.
It comprised in 1800 two houses, having apparently absorbed the adjoining building,
No. 4, which had just been built. The present part of the house which fronts the
street appears to be of mid-18th century date, but this was either an extension or a
rebuilding of the first house, which has a continuous tenancy from the Duchess of
Hamilton in 1715.
The following is the list:—
|1715–1718.||The Duchess of Hamilton.|
|1736–1749.||Captain Alexander de Clouseaux (Clusoe).|
|1755–1757.||Major de Clusoe (Clouseaux).|
|1790–1793.||Messrs Attwood and Taylor.|
Faulkner tells us that Elizabeth, Duchess of Hamilton, widow of James, Duke of
Hamilton, who was killed in a duel with Lord Mohun, lived in Chelsea in 1714. From
the same source we learn that the name of Mr. Alexander Desclousseaux appears in
the parish register of burials for August 12th, 1747. Faulkner devotes a paragraph
to John Collett, the painter, whose pictures had a popular vogue in his time, and
were often engraved. He places him, with many more celebrities whose place of
residence was uncertain, in Paradise Row, but in the case of Collett, he may have
some foundation for his statement that he died there in 1780. According to Beaver,
C. J. Lewis, the artist, lived here from 1858 to 1883.
The property has for some long time been in the hands of Dr. Phené, who died
in the past year (1912). He converted the garden and house into a repository of
architectural curios, and so much was the place neglected that part of the-roof and
floors of Cheyne House have fallen in. It is at present being cleared of the accumulation of furniture, etc., which has been stored there for many years.
In the Council's ms. collection are:—
(fn. 4) View from south (photograph).
View from south-east (photograph).
Doorway, another view (photograph).
Doorway, another view (photograph).
Doorway (measured drawing).