Survey of London: Volume 10, St. Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne's Gate Area. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], 1926.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
LIII—No. 15 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE: (Formerly No. 8 Queen Square).
Ground Landlord, etc.
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. n1) 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.
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 110).
Condition of Repair.
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.
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. n2) 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. n3) 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. n4)General exterior of premises (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. n4)General exterior of premises (measured drawing).
(fn. n4)Interior showing dining-room (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. n4)Interior showing drawing-room on first floor (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. n4)Interior showing front bedroom on second floor (photograph lent by Mr. E. Hudson).
(fn. n4)Ground and first-floor plans (measured drawing).