Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
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St. James's Place
Most of St. James's Place was laid out by the Rossingtons, the speculators who purchased Cleveland House and garden (see page 492). For a time the north-south line of the street was called Rossington Street, but the name did not persist. (fn. 10) St. James's Place owes its rather curious L-shaped formation to the fact that it was built at two distinct periods over ground belonging to different owners (see fig. 81). The east-west line, as far as and including No. 10 on the north side and No. 32 on the south side, was built in 1685–6 on part of freehold land granted by the Crown to Sir John Duncombe in 1672. The rest of the street was laid out in the 1690's on part of Cleveland House garden (Nos. 11–20, 26–31 consec.) and on part of the Pulteney estate which had been surrendered, but not used, for the formation of Green Park (Nos. 21–25 consec.). Cleveland Court, between Nos. 33 and 39 on the south side of St. James's Place and now numbered in the street, was also laid out in the 1690's, on another part of the Pulteney estate.
Strype described St. James's Place in 1720 as 'a good Street' which opened wide 'towards the upper End, . . . and receiveth a fresh Air out of the Park: the Houses are well built, and inhabited by Gentry, especially the upper Part, where the Houses are larger and better built and inhabited'. (fn. 11) Some of the original houses still survive, though most of them have been considerably altered. The documentary evidence for their history is in some cases very scanty.
Sir John Duncombe's Estate
The first part of St. James's Place to be set out was the east-west line, on part of the freehold land granted by the Crown to Sir John Duncombe in 1672 (see page 460 and J on fig. 81). This part of the street was described in 1685 as 'newly designed' by John Rossington, (fn. 12) who appears to have held only a leasehold interest. (fn. 13) It first appears in the ratebooks as 'a row of houses in Building' in 1686. Eighteen houses had been completed and were occupied by 1687. (fn. 14)
Only a few references to building leases of the Duncombe estate have been found. Two were granted by John, Robert, and Joseph Rossington in December 1685 for fifty-one years, one of a plot on the north side of St. James's Place to Edward Martin, plasterer, (fn. 15) and the other of a plot now occupied by No. 66 St. James's Street to Charles Pitant or Pitaut. (fn. 12) Other building craftsmen who appear to have worked for the Rossingtons on the north side of St. James's Place, and may have had building leases from them, were Paul Win(c)kles, smith, Richard Hadland, joiner, and William Strode, bricklayer. (fn. 16)
The building plots on the south side of the street, both on the Duncombe estate and on the Cleveland House estate, appear to have been leased by the Rossingtons to Hugh Jones, gentleman. In 1685 Robert, Joseph, and John Rossington leased a plot on the south-east corner of St. James's Place to Jones for sixty-one years (fn. 17) and three other plots on the south side of the street were leased to Jones in trust for John Rossington. (fn. 18)
Before 1695 the freehold of the estate had passed to the Devisscher family. Mary, widow of Samuel Devisscher of Battersea, married Samuel Pett, also of Battersea and probably a member of the boat-building firm. (fn. 19) In 1701 Joseph Rossington was in arrears with the payment to Samuel Pett of ground-rent of £150 for an estate in St. James's Place, (fn. 13) and it seems reasonable to assume that Pett's entitlement to the ground-rent was through his wife's inheritance from her former husband. In 1713 Mary Pett and Samuel Devisscher's heirs mortgaged to Thomas Jenkins eleven houses on the north side of St. James's Place and half the open ground before them, (fn. 20) and in 1721 Edmund Devisscher conveyed to Arthur Cooke and William Theed twelve houses on the south side and the other half of the open ground in the street. (fn. 21) By 1736 the ownership had become vested in Edmund Strudwick of St. Anne's, Soho, (fn. 22) and in 1763 the eleven houses on the north side, and perhaps those on the south, had descended to Edmund Strudwick, of Ipswich, and Samuel Strudwick of St. Marylebone. (fn. 23)
By 1786, (fn. 24) and perhaps earlier, (fn. 25) all this property, except two houses on the north side (probably No. 1 St. James's Place and the house adjoining it in St. James's Street which had presumably been sold off before this date), had come into the possession of (Sir) Robert Mackreth. In that year he mortgaged nine houses on the north side (later Nos. 2–10 consec.) and eleven (formerly twelve) on the south side (later Nos. 32, 33, 39–45 consec. St. James's Place and No. 67a St. James's Street—incorporating No. 46 St. James's Place—and No. 68 St. James's Street) to Lady Essex Finch. (fn. 26) Sir Robert died in 1819 and left his freehold estate in St. James's Place and St. James's Street to his great-nephew, Henry Williams, provided that he assumed the name of Mackreth. (fn. 27) Sir Robert's heirs continued to hold his estate until 1863, when it was put up for sale by public auction, and most of the houses were sold individually. (fn. 28) Notable occupants have included: No. 1 (now incorporated with Nos. 66 and 67 St. James's Street), Robert Pringle, politician, 1723. (fn. 29) No. 2, Edward Gibbon lodged in January 1766 with a Miss Lake in St. James's Place—'an indifferent lodging' at two guineas a week. (fn. 30) Ann Lake appears in the ratebooks for this period at No. 2. No. 3, Domenico Angelo, fencing master, 1758–62; William Whitehead, poet-laureate, 1768–72. No. 6, John Purcell, ? physician, 1704–6. No. 10, (? Sir) Francis Child, junior, 1716–19; John Leslie, ninth Earl of Rothes, 1737–8; Sir Robert Gunning, baronet, diplomatist, 1778–86. No. 32, John Radcliffe, physician, 1704–6. No. 33, Brigadier-General Phineas Bowles, 1716–21 ; (fn. 29) Mrs. Mary Delany, 1771–88, who had some alterations carried out to the house on her removal there in 1771. (fn. 31) No.34, Lord Dudley Coutts Stuart, advocate of the independence of Poland, 1847–50. No. 38, George William Frederick Villiers, later fourth Earl of Clarendon and fourth Baron Hyde, diplomatist, 1831–3. No. 39, Charles Knyvett, junior, musician, 1844–5. (fn. 29)
Nos. 2–10, 32, 40–45 (consec.) St. James's Place
Fourteen of the original houses built on the Duncombe estate—Nos. 2–9 on the north side and Nos. 40–45 on the south (Plate 246a, 246b, 246c)— have survived, although their fronts have generally been heightened by a storey and covered with stucco-work in the course of the nineteenth century. It is evident, however, that they were terrace-houses of almost uniform design, each containing a basement, with barrel-vaulted cellars beneath the street pavement, three storeys and a garret in front, and five storeys at the back, the top storey perhaps an early addition. The front walls are of brick, originally carried up for three storeys only, but the back walls are timberframed and generally five storeys high. Projecting from the back on the east side are three-storeyed brick closets having timber-framed west walls.
Except where an added storey has two windows, each front is three windows wide, with the doorway in the west opening of the ground storey. The original dull-red stock brick face is still exposed in the upper two storeys of No. 3, where the floor levels are marked by bandcourses, now stuccoed, and the windows have flat-arched openings dressed with fine red brick, containing exposed boxframes, though these have been refaced at least.
The interiors of the houses were apparently identical at first, being entered by a narrow passage leading to a dog-leg staircase at the back. The front room had a chimney-breast in the centre of the party-wall, and the back-room chimney-breast was placed in the angle of the party-wall and back wall, with the closet beyond it. All the rooms of the three main storeys seem to have been lined with simple rebated panelling, finished with moulded dado-rails and wooden box-cornices. Similar panelling lined the staircase compartment and the entrance passage which were linked by an arched opening framed by two Doric pilasters from which sprang a moulded segmental arch with a plain keyblock. The staircase, not so stoutly built as the earlier ones in Jermyn Street, was of a common late seventeenth-century type, having closed moulded strings, turned balusters, a broad moulded handrail, thick square newels with flat moulded caps, and turned pendants. Different carpenters probably worked on opposite sides of the street, for on the south side the balusters are of another pattern and there are no half-space landings, the treads winding round a single newelpost which is continuous from top to bottom of the staircase.
On the north side No. 4 has the best-preserved interior with a staircase compartment panelled for three storeys and the staircase itself complete from the ground to the third floor. There is panelling also in the first- and second-floor rooms, but here, as on part of the stairs, it has been altered by the addition of a bolection moulding. Nos. 3, 6 and 7 retain remnants of panelling and an occasional box-cornice, while substantial portions of the original staircases remain at Nos. 4, 8 and 9. All the houses still have their timber-framed walls at the back, except for the yellow stock brick replacement at No. 9.
The houses on the south side have suffered less alteration, although the back part of No. 41 is a rebuilding, probably late Victorian. Nos. 43–45 still have three-storeyed fronts and No. 43 has its original red tiled roof (Plate 246a). Nos. 42–44 have complete closet wings with their tiled roofs intact (Plate 246b). Nos. 40 and 42–44 have boxcornices and fragmentary panelling in some of their rooms, while No. 43 has a panelled entrance passage complete with its dividing arch. The original staircases survive in large part at Nos. 40 and 44, and to a lesser extent at Nos. 41–43.
Nos. 40 and 45 differ from the general pattern in that their back walls are of dull-red brick with raised bandcourses at the floor levels, a feature largely concealed by cement at No. 40. Neither house has a projecting closet, which may be due to partial rebuilding in the early eighteenth century. No. 45 is also exceptional in having a later staircase wing, with a timber-framed east wall, built out on the west, the original staircase surviving in a re-used form on the topmost floors. The later staircase is of the same pattern as the earlier ones, but with a different, more slender, type of baluster, and with column newels at the landings. It has a complete panelled dado and at its head on the second floor is a small gallery-balustrade.
No. 10, which was almost entirely rebuilt in 1774 or 1775, (fn. 14) has a broader frontage than the rest and must always have been of greater consequence (Plate 246d). It contains a basement, three storeys and a garret, and has three widely spaced windows in each storey, with a roundarched doorway in the eastern opening of the ground storey. The front is apparently of yellow brick, re-surfaced and mock-pointed. A peculiarity of the building is that its front is set aslant, as if to bridge the gap between Nos. 2–9 and 11–15, which latter are set back several feet, the ground storey being built out level with Nos. 2–9 and splayed at its western end. The house has been much altered and the ground storey may have been built out in recent times. The rusticated cement surround to the doorway, the tall cement balustrade over the ground storey, and the bay window of brick in the middle of the second storey, are also comparatively modern.
The back wall is four storeys in height and is possibly a remnant of the first house, since it has blocked windows in the third and fourth storeys of the staircase compartment and a window with a box-frame in the back room of the ground storey.
There are two rooms on each floor, the back room projecting a little way north of the staircase compartment which lies to the east of it, leaving just enough room for its single window in the east wall. The staircase is of the circular open-well type, but is unusual in that it bulges into the back room on the west. It has an open string, thin square balusters of wood, and a continuous mahogany handrail, and above it is a lantern-light. Little need be said of the rest of the interior except that the dentilled cornices and anthemion friezes in the ground- and first-floor rooms, and the ceiling of the first-floor front room with its simple oval, decorated with guilloche and festoons, may date from 1774–5.
No. 32 has a 'High Victorian' Renaissance front of red brick and terra-cotta, four storeys high and four windows wide, those of the second storey being dressed with pediments. The narrow return front, facing east, contains the doorway, over which is a large panel bearing the building date of 1884.
Cleveland House Garden
In 1690 a large part of the freehold (and some of the leasehold) land which had been used as the garden of Cleveland House was divided into building lots (C, H on fig. 81). William Strode, bricklayer, purchased one lot, on which Nos. 11–16 (consec.) St. James's Place were erected. Two others were purchased by the Marquis of Halifax. The northernmost of these on which Nos. 17, 18, 18a, 19 and 20 St. James's Place and No. 7 Park Place now stand, was conveyed in 1690 by John Rossington and his mortgagee, Hannah Standish, to the Marquis, (fn. 32) and the other, upon which now stand Catherine Wheel Yard, Spencer House, and Nos. 28–31 (consec.) St. James's Place, was sold to him in 1691 by Rossington and his mortgagees.
George Savile, first Marquis of Halifax (1633– 1695), called the 'Trimmer', (fn. 33) lived in St. James's Square. His purchase of part of Cleveland House garden, for which he paid £8450, (fn. 34) was evidently an investment for he immediately granted building leases to the Rossingtons. He died in 1695 and was succeeded by his son William, the second Marquis, who appointed the Hon. William Finch and John Conyers as trustees for his property. (fn. 35) William Savile died in 1700, without male issue, (fn. 36) but leaving three daughters as co-heiresses. In 1743 his estates were divided among them, the former Cleveland House garden ground being apportioned to Dorothy, (fn. 37) who had married Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington, in 1721. (fn. 36) Lady Burlington and her trustees subsequently sold off the property piecemeal.
One other house in St. James's Place was also erected on land formerly belonging to Cleveland House garden. This was on the site of No. 26, purchased by Francis Parry in 1695.
Nos. 11–16 (consec.) St. James's Place
Nos. 12, 16 rebuilt
These houses stand on the part of Cleveland House garden which was purchased about 1690 by William Strode, bricklayer. (fn. 32) Within two or three years Strode built six houses, five facing south (Nos. 11–15) and one behind them facing west (No. 16); (fn. 38) he was assisted by Richard Hadland, joiner, (fn. 39) and probably by George Lane, carpenter. (fn. 40)
Only the early history of Nos. 11 and 12 is well documented, thanks to the survival of the proceedings of a suit in Chancery (fn. 41) and of the letters to Thomas Coke (fn. 1) among the Cowper manuscripts. (fn. 42) Thomas Coke was a member of Parliament who later became Vice-Chamberlain to Queen Anne and afterwards to George I. (fn. 43) In December 1697 a relative was negotiating on his behalf for the purchase of a London house. She wrote, ' 'Tis really a very pretty house . . . two rooms on each floor, which is six in all, wainscoted from top to bottom; . . . I am confident you will soon find the ease of having a house to yourself, though but a little one.' This description almost certainly refers to No. 11 St. James's Place.
In 1698, whilst Coke was in the country for his marriage to Lady Mary Stanhope, his house in St. James's Place was enlarged (fn. 42) by the building of 'clossetts' in the garden. (fn. 41) His neighbours made a great fuss about the invasion of their privacy, especially Mrs. Godolphin and her husband, Charles, who were living at No. 16 (fn. 14) and whose garden abutted on the end of the garden of No. 11. (fn. 42) In August 1698 Coke was informed that 'Your building doth go on now, though it hath been three times hundred and caused to be altered, by some unworthy and envious persons', and the workmen had been threatened too by the Godolphins 'with a pistol ready cocked'. In the following month, when the house was almost ready, Coke's servant wrote to ask:
'1. How must the Japan pictures be disposed of?
'2. Shall there be a glass pier in the lower room in the new building, as it is ordered above in the middle storey ?
'3. Would you have sash doors in the closet of that story for a library ?
'4. Would you have any prints pasted before you come ?
'5. Would you have glass in the piers of the dining room, as also over the marble chimney piece there?'
By November 1698 Coke had taken up residence. (fn. 42)
In February 1698/9 Coke took a lease of the adjoining house, No. 12, which was empty, from Thomas Bake well, victualler. In the previous September Charles Godolphin had entered into an agreement with Bakewell whereby he was allowed to build a plank fence along Bakewell's wall at the end of the garden of No. 12, and Bakewell had agreed not to erect any building in his garden higher than seven feet. (fn. 41) This fence was no doubt the 'monument of malice' referred to in a letter to Coke's servant dated September 1698. (fn. 42) Coke pulled down the plank fence and erected a new building at the rear of No. 12. Godolphin prosecuted Bakewell and obtained a judgment against him for £100. Bakewell, who according to Godolphin was urged on and financially supported by Coke, entered a petition in Chancery but the final outcome of the case is not known. (fn. 41)
Coke went on to join the two houses together. In July 1699 Edward Goudge wrote to him: 'I trusted Mr. Ogbourne your carpenter to continue the laying your two houses together. I did not much approve of it, so that I am drawing my own thoughts of it in two storeys, viz. the kitchen, the hall, the dining room and two pairs of stairs, with back stairs quite through the houses which Mr. Ogbourne had left out. However, I will send his draught with my own.' In October he wrote again: 'I have considered that if I alter the two doors in your dining room storey by making them larger, as also those in Mr. Bakewell's house, there seems to me a necessity of making the other two doors in the same storey of the same dimensions.' (fn. 44) In this same year Coke paid John van Nost (Ost) £50 for a chimneypiece for his house(s) in St. James's Place. (fn. 45) He continued to live at Nos. 11 and 12 until about 1709 when he removed to lodgings in St. James's Palace. (fn. 46) Both houses were pulled down in 1779 and rebuilt, probably by 1781. (fn. 14)
Occupants of note have included: No. 11, Robert Cruikshank, caricaturist and miniature painter, 1820–6 ; (fn. 29) Deen Mahomed, (fn. 14) 1831–5, perhaps the Turkish-bath keeper whose son was Frederick Mahomed, physician (fn. 33) (part of the house was used for vapour baths by the later occupant, Walker); George Alfred Walker, surgeon and sanitary reformer, 1847–53. (fn. 47) No. 12, Thomas Harris, (?) proprietor and manager of Covent Garden Theatre, 1798–1805. No. 13, Major-General Percy Kirke, 1716–41; Sir Evan Nepean, baronet, administrator, 1789–91. No. 14, William Wickham, (?) politician, 1795–7. No. 15, Sir Andrew Fountaine, virtuoso, 1716– 1731. (fn. 29)
No. 11 has been considerably altered since it was rebuilt in 1781, and the form of the late eighteenth-century building is barely recognizable (see Plate 246d for Nos. 11–15). The plain front of stock bricks is four storeys high and two windows wide in the unaltered upper storeys. In front of the large recessed window in the second storey is a continuous balcony with a patterned wrought-iron railing which may be original. (fn. c1)
No. 12 is now an entirely modern building behind a neo-Georgian front, but the late eighteenth-century house (shown in a photograph belonging to the National Buildings Record) which preceded it had an attractive stuccoed front, in which the three upper storeys projected as a canted bay three windows wide, its foot designed as an entablature and supported by two Doric columns to form an entrance porch to the ground storey. A modillioned cornice marked the third-floor level and round the head of the bay was a tall iron railing.
Nos. 13 and 14 are much the best-preserved of the small houses in the street. No. 13 was rebuilt in 1781 at the same time as Nos. 11 and 12, but No. 14, despite its stuccoed exterior, is of late seventeenth-century date. Their plans are mirrored almost exactly, the difference in date notwithstanding, a fact which suggests that the layout of No. 13 closely follows that of its seventeenthcentury predecessor.
No. 13 contains a basement, four storeys and a garret, and has a stock brick front, three windows wide, the appearance of which remains unaltered save for the loss of the original door and the glazing-bars from the windows. The three round-arched openings in the ground storey have moulded archivolts and imposts of painted Coade stone or stucco, the western opening, which forms the doorway, alone having a small fluted keystone. The original six-panelled door (now removed but shown in a photograph in the L.C.C. collection) had a central staff-bead and each middle panel had a lion-head knocker. Before the doorway is an arched lamp-holder and in front of the tall second-storey windows is a continuous balcony with a patterned cast-iron railing. At second-floor level is a Coade stone guilloche band, and at eaves level an entablature with a triglyphed frieze and a modillion cornice. The back wall is formed as a three-light bow window, built of the same yellowish-brown brick as the front but with raised bandcourses at the floor levels.
Each floor is divided into a front and a back room of roughly equal size with a staircase compartment between them. The staircase is placed in the middle of its compartment so that space is left behind it for a closet connecting the two rooms. On the ground and first floors the rooms retain a number of original features. Each has a plain plaster cornice, a pair of six-panelled doors, some with fluted architraves, and panelled shutters to the windows, all the panels having the same raised moulding as the panels of the front door. The back room on the ground floor and the front room on the first floor also have plain wooden dadoes with moulded rails, and the latter room has a moulded plaster ceiling in the 'Adam' manner, although of inferior quality. The design consists of a central oval bordered by six semi-ovals, the angles being occupied by quadrant fans. Radiating plumes fill the centre oval, and there is an anthemion ornament between each pair of semi-ovals, which are filled with festoons, while each end segment contains an urn flanked by sphinxes. The 'geometric' staircase is built of wood in the plan of a horseshoe, and has two thin square balusters to each tread, with a continuous mahogany handrail which volutes over a cluster of balusters at the foot. The flat soffit follows the curvature of the stair and the fascia is decorated with low-relief profilebrackets below each nosing return. From the second floor upwards there is a change in character, the handrail being ramped up over newels at the landings.
No. 14 is of the same width as No. 13 but only three storeys in height, and from its upper storeys projects a canted timber-framed bay window of three lights. The window openings are framed by moulded stucco architraves and contain sashes with thin glazing-bars, while the door, in the eastern opening of the ground storey, has six raised-and-fielded panels in ovolo-moulded framing. There is a plain iron railing around the basement area, and stringcourses underline the second- and third-storey windows. Round the head of the bay runs a modillion cornice and above it is a tall parapet. Only a box-frame in one of the basement windows now remains to hint at the earlier building behind, but there survived until recently the original, steeply pitched, tiled roof together with a pair of hipped dormer windows. The back elevation, in complete contrast to the front, is of plum-coloured brick and four storeys high, with raised bandcourses marking each floor level. The flat-arched windows contain boxframes and at eaves level is a wooden cornice.
The plan of the house differs from that of No. 13 only in having a much narrower closet behind the staircase. Its rooms on all three floors are wholly or partly lined with plain rebated panelling finished with a box-cornice, but much of the panelling is modern. That in the first-floor front and second-floor back rooms appears to be late seventeenth-century although it is much repaired and, in the former room, bolection mouldings have been added. The panels in the entrance passage are raised on bolection mouldings, and the staircase compartment is entered through a wide archway formed by engaged columns, with square panelled shafts and moulded caps, and a moulded elliptical arch with a plain keyblock. The staircase is the best feature of the building, rising from basement to garret with an accompanying dado of plain rebated panelling. Built of wood round an oblong well, it has closed moulded strings, turned balusters, and a rounded handrail. The newels are thick and square with turned pendants, and the handrail continues over them up to the third storey. Above this the newels have flat moulded caps of the standard type.
No. 15, probably a late eighteenth-century house, contains a basement, four storeys and a garret, and has a south front two windows wide, and a west front seven windows wide. The fronts are of yellow brick with a stuccoed bandcourse at second-storey level and a stucco cornice just below the parapet. From the second storey of the south front projects a canted bay window of timber construction, resting on two slender cast-iron columns and having a modillioned cornice round its head and a modern wrought-iron guard-rail before each of its three windows. The west front is of little interest and the two windows to the south of each storey are blind, but in the bay north of centre is a round-arched doorway with a patterned fanlight and a pilastered stucco surround. It was not possible to investigate the interior.
No. 16, which was taken down for the building known as the Stafford Hotel (see below), may have been rebuilt for Sir John Evelyn, who appears in the ratebooks from 1739 to 1763. Andrews Jelfe, mason, is said to have built a house for him in 1740. (fn. 48)
The Stafford Hotel: Nos. 16–17 St. James's Place
Nos. 16 and 17 St. James's Place were demolished in 1899–1900 to make way for a new building which was to be used as either a hotel or as flats. The rebuilding was carried out by Henry Lovatt, a builder and contractor of Wolverhampton. He appears to have been allowed to provide his own designs, subject to the approval and supervision of the freeholder's architect, H. H. Collins of Old Broad Street.
The building agreement was concluded in September 1899, and in August 1901 Lovatt was granted a lease for the completed building. (fn. 49) It appears to have been used as a block of flats or chambers until 1910, (fn. 50) when Lovatt was granted a licence to make certain alterations, (fn. 49) and in 1912 it became the Stafford Hotel. (fn. 50)
This building (Plate 275a), containing a basement, five storeys, and a roof garret, has a front of curious design, distinctly 'Art Nouveau' in the structural nature of its composition but furnished with affected early Renaissance details, the materials being red brick dressed with pale tawny terra-cotta. Wide piers, not articulated in the ground storey, divide the four-storeyed upper part into four bays, alternately wide and narrow, the narrow north bay looking like an addition, although it is not, to a balanced composition of three bays with the bowed entrance porch emphasizing the narrow middle bay. In the second storey, the piers are ornamented with cartouches held by putti, forming corbels for the narrow concave-sided ribs that rise through the third and fourth storeys where they are linked by moulded segmental arches of terra-cotta, finished with a corbelled cornice. These ribs are repeated in the attic storey and linked by a straight returnmember below another corbelled cornice. The ground-storey windows are framed in blocked architraves and are divided into two or three lights by blocked Doric columns, and those in the second, third and fourth storeys of the wide bays have canted side lights exposing the deep reveals of the brick piers. In the narrow north bay, the upperstorey windows are all recessed although their aprons and lintels are flush with the main building face.
Nos. 17–20 (consec.) St. James's Place
Nos. 17, 18, 18a rebuilt
The site of the present Nos. 17–20 St. James's Place and No. 7 Park Place (six houses in all) was part of Cleveland House garden mortgaged by John Rossington to Hannah Standish. In 1690 Rossington sold it to the Marquis of Halifax, who paid £2700. (fn. 32)
Building plots were laid out and were leased separately by the Marquis in 1690 to the Rossingtons (John, Joseph and Robert) and to their representative, Hugh Jones, for terms of sixty-one years. (fn. 51) None of these houses has survived in recognizable form.
The site of No. 17 has been incorporated into the site of the Stafford Hotel (see above).
Occupants of note have included: No. 17, John Wallop, Viscount Lymington, later first Earl of Portsmouth, 1717–21 ; (fn. 29) Henry Egerton, Bishop of Hereford, 1724–33 ; (fn. 52) General Bernard Hale, 1763–98. (fn. 53) No. 18, Richard Jones, third Viscount and first Earl of Ranelagh, 1707 ; Colonel (later General) Bernard Hale, 1756–63. (fn. 29) No. 18a, Charles Townshend, later first Baron Bayning, politician, 1777–82. (fn. 29) No. 19, John Pyke Hullah, musical composer and teacher, 1842–53. (fn. 47)
No. 20 was used between 1822 and 1857 as quarters for the servants of No. 21. (fn. 54) It has been occupied since 1942 by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. This club was founded in 1925 after the first Fastnet race, and a club-house was first opened in 1935 at No. 6 Pall Mall Place. Members qualify by taking part in any one of the club's annual races, of which there are twelve, sailed over courses from 200 to 600 miles. (fn. 55)
No. 19 (Plate 247d) is outwardly a late Georgian 'Gothick' house, but its curious plan and the evidence of several blocked windows strongly suggest that the carcase is much earlier. Some plain rebated panelling, re-used in the interior, suggests that this house was originally as undistinguished as the other small houses in the street. It now fronts a narrow cul-de-sac, with the side wall of No. 18a only some ten feet opposite, while the back is bordered immediately to the north by the passage from Park Place, formerly leading into Green Park. The stucco-faced front is three storeys high and was probably five windows wide before the first two storeys were refashioned. The two-storeyed enclosed porch in the centre is flanked to the west by two large three-light windows, one in each storey, and to the east by two very small windows, while above in the third and topmost storey are five evenly spaced mediumsized windows, the middle three of which are now blind and stucco-faced. The ground storey of the porch, now extended eastwards, has a roundarched doorway in the front face, containing a six-panelled door in two leaves and a 'cobweb' fanlight, a pointed arched window with 'Gothick' glazing in the narrow return face and a prominent cornice at first-floor level. In the front face of the upper storey is a blind window and in the return a round-headed niche. The two large windows west of the porch have moulded labels and that in the second storey is furnished with a trellispanelled iron balcony of late eighteenth-century pattern. An iron railing of the same date guards the basement area west of the porch, but the arearailing to the east of it is of a later type. The roof is flat and leaded, except for the western part where there is a blue-slated mansard.
The present interior decorations are almost entirely modern, and it is the plan which is of principal interest. Each floor has two main rooms lying east and west of a central staircase compartment, to the north of which is placed a smaller third room. The main rooms run the depth of the house, but the plan deepens by stages, so that the western room is very long and both it and the middle room have space for a single window looking east. The wooden staircase is formed round an oblong well, with closed strings and thin square balusters supporting a continuous mahogany handrail. The main rooms on the ground floor have panelled double doors with decorative brass handles, and between the porch and the stair compartment is an elliptical wooden arch springing from enriched Doric half-columns.
No. 20 (Plate 247d) is largely modern but incorporates parts of an older structure, and old stock bricks have been re-used for the front. This is a simple neo-Georgian composition with three storeys above a basement, divided by a slight vertical break into a west part, three windows wide, and an east part with one wide opening of three lights. The doorway, almost central in the front, has a segmental-pedimented doorcase of wood which is obviously modern, as are the divided sashes of the windows. The main staircase of stone, with a wrought-iron balustrade, is modern, but the service stair in the north-west angle is of late eighteenth-century character. The firstfloor rooms are panelled, but the woodwork is modern except for the mid eighteenth-century door between the two rooms. Some simple six-panelled doors of late eighteenth-century date have been re-used on the second floor.
No. 26 St. James's Place
In 1692 or thereabouts (fn. 14) Edward Martin, plasterer, contracted with John and Joseph Rossington for the purchase of a piece of land in the northwest corner of Cleveland House garden on which he built a house (C on fig. 81). The house abutted north and west on Crown land let to Francis Parry, and occupied only the north-east corner of the site of No. 26, the rest being laid out as a courtyard. In 1695 Parry, who then occupied the house, purchased the freehold from Martin and the Rossingtons. (fn. 56)
In March 1706 Parry's son, Charles, sold the property to Sir John Harpur, (fn. 57) who lived in the house until 1742. (fn. 14) It was sold by his devisees in 1745 to Lieutenant-General Sir John Cope, (fn. 58) who was commander-in-chief in Scotland during the early part of the '45 rebellion. (fn. 33) Sir John had Parry's old house pulled down in 1745 and a larger house, which extended over the piece of Crown property between the old house and Green Park, built in its place. (fn. 59) The new house was ready for occupation by 1746, and Sir John Cope lived in it until his death in 1760. (fn. 29) There is no satisfactory illustration of Sir John Cope's house at this period, although the bay window which projected from the north end of its Green Park front seems to be just visible in a Hogarth painting of 1760. (fn. 60)
Later occupants included Richard Rigby, politician, (fn. 33) 'a bon vivant of the first order, and a statesman of the second', (fn. 61) Richard Vernon, 'alias Fox, alias Jubilee Dicky', M.P., and a founder of the Jockey Club, 1769–81 ; (fn. 29) and Robert Smith, Baron Carrington, politician, 1789–1806. (fn. 29) The latter extended the house southwards in 1796 by building over the former courtyard. (fn. 14) The altered front to Green Park is shown rather indistinctly in Dayes's drawing of 1797 (an engraving of which is reproduced in Plate XXXIII of Neville Braybrooke's London Green, 1959); a more detailed view of part of it can be seen in Malton's engraving of Spencer House (Plate 254a). It contained three storeys with a pair of canted bays projecting from them, the bays being carried up to eaves level and finished with a panelled parapet. Possibly these two bays were incorporated in Lewis Vulliamy's work of 1843 when he altered the house for the Dowager Lady Arden, (fn. 62) but if so they were greatly altered, since a photograph of 1934 (Plate 248a) shows that the Green Park front was then thoroughly midVictorian in style. This front was four storeys high, the pair of canted bays occupying the whole of the first three storeys. The exposed brickwork was decorated with cement details, the windows having moulded architraves with pediments to the second storey, and the bays being finished with entablatures and balustrades. The house was destroyed by enemy bombardment during the war of 1939–45. The present building on the site was built in 1959–60.
Spencer House: No. 27 St. James's Place
In 1752 Dorothy, Countess of Burlington, who had inherited the Marquis of Halifax's estate in St. James's, agreed with Henry Bromley, first Baron Montfort, (fn. 36) (fn. 2) to grant him a ninety-nineyear lease of the site of three old houses (see page 531) at the west end of the south side of St. James's Place. (fn. 63) The site had a frontage of 100 feet to St. James's Place and of 68 feet towards Catherine Wheel Yard (the north-south line, since closed) overlooking Green Park (Plate 250). At the rear the site backed on to stables on the north side of Catherine Wheel Yard. Lord Montfort undertook to spend £8000 in building one or more new houses within seven years and to pay the Countess £2000 on the signing of the agreement. (fn. 63)
Lord Montfort intended to build a single house for his own occupation. He chose as his architect John Vardy, an associate of William Kent, who from 1736 until his death in 1765 held various posts as Clerk of the Works in the royal service. (fn. 64) The only known drawing illustrating Vardy's design for Lord Montfort's house is signed 'J. Vardy Invent, et delin. 1755' and shows a groundfloor plan and an elevation for the park front (Plate 250). The date 1755 on this drawing suggests that it was probably made with a view to publication. The actual preparation of the design must be attributed to an earlier date, some time between 1752 and July 1754 (fn. 63).
The three old houses on the site were still standing and occupied at the beginning of 1755 (fn. 14) when Lord Montfort died. Having fallen into financial difficulties, (fn. 36) he committed suicide on New Year's Day; after reading over his will three times with his lawyer, he sealed it and shot himself through the head before the lawyer could get downstairs. (fn. 65)
In the following June Vardy, now deprived of his client, purchased the agreement executed between Lady Burlington and Lord Montfort from the latter's trustees for £2500. (fn. 66) At about this time he prepared a drawing (mentioned above) of his design for Lord Montfort's house, perhaps in order to attract another client. In this he was successful, his new patron being John Spencer.
On his father's death in 1746 John Spencer had inherited the Spencer estates as well as the great wealth of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. He came of age on 19 December 1755 and married on the following day. In 1761 he was created Baron Spencer and Viscount Spencer of Althorp and in 1765 Earl Spencer. (fn. 36) Vardy evidently sold the building agreement for the site in St. James's Place to Spencer, for in May 1756 Lady Burlington granted a ninety-five-year lease to the latter. (fn. 66) Spencer's site was slightly larger than that agreed on with Lord Montfort, and included two stables in Catherine Wheel Yard. (fn. 66)
The building of the house probably began about March 1756, when John Spencer received royal licence to encroach on the Green Park for the erection of a terrace and wall. (fn. 67) The lease from Lady Burlington was granted in May, and by September sufficient progress had been made for Mrs. Delany to write that she walked in the park 'to see Mr. Spencer's house, which is begun and the ground floor finished'. (fn. 68)
The site was again extended in October 1756 when Spencer obtained another lease from Lady Burlington of a piece of land on which the southwest corner of the house, with a bow projection, was built. (fn. 66) The plans of Spencer House published in Vitruvius Britannicus (Plate 251) show that it was intended to extend the house further eastwards at some later date, over the site of No. 28 St. James's Place, but this was never done.
Apart from short incidental references in the family letters there is very little documentary evidence about the building of Spencer House, and none of the builders' accounts have survived. The plan of the house is clearly an adaptation of Vardy's earlier plan for Lord Montfort, but it is nevertheless uncertain how much of the finished design can be attributed to Vardy. According to Horace Walpole, 'Mr. Spenser's house in St. James's place [was] by Colonel George Grey, brother of sir James Grey Resident at Naples', (fn. 69) and in 1822 T. F. Dibdin, the historian of Althorp, wrote 'The exterior design was planned by General Grey, and executed by Vardy.' (fn. 70) In the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects there is also a design for window shutters at Spencer House which is initialled by Vardy and endorsed '. . . 1758 approved George Gray'. (fn. 71)
It is, however, impossible to accept unreservedly the assertions of Walpole and Dibdin since all the published designs of the house, including an engraving 'humbly Inscribed' to Lord Spencer, bear Vardy's name, and the plan for Lord Montfort's house had affinities with the plan of Spencer House as executed. Gray must have advised Spencer and acted on his behalf during the latter's absence abroad in 1763. (fn. 72) Gray (later General Sir George Gray) and his brother, Sir James, were both original members of the Society of Dilettanti, which had been founded in 1732 by persons whose chief interests were in the fine arts. George Gray was secretary and treasurer to the society, and Lord Spencer himself became a member in 1765. (fn. 73)
Vardy's part in the decoration of the interior is authenticated by a number of signed drawings. They include one of the dining-room (1755 or 1757), one of the soffit of the great staircase (1758) (Plates 258a, 257b) and the one which was approved by Gray for the ornament of the panels in the window shutters.
It may be that Vardy was not required to provide designs for the decorations after 1758, for at about this time John Spencer employed James Stuart to work on the house. Stuart was another member of the Society of Dilettanti, and had been elected in 1751 on the proposal of Sir James Gray. (fn. 74) A drawing of the northern wall of the painted room, with the date 1759 inscribed in a panel over the door (Plate 262a), was recently acquired by the British Museum and has been ascribed to Stuart's hand. (fn. 75)
In Sir John Soane's Museum there is also a sketch by Robert Adam of a 'cornice in the South Dressing Room of Mr. Spencers House by Mr. S'. The reference to 'Mr. Spencer' places this drawing anterior to April 1761, when John Spencer was elevated to the peerage.
The plasterwork on the ceiling in the great room was also Stuart's work. It was executed between May 1763 and February 1764 and estimated to cost £480. (fn. 72) He may also have designed some of the furniture for the new house. (fn. 76) Incidental references in the Spencer letters preserved at Althorp to his work at Spencer House show that Stuart was a difficult man to deal with and that he took a great deal of time to fulfil his commitments.
Of the other artists who must have been employed on the house little is known. One chimneypiece is attributed to Peter Scheemakers, (fn. 72) and Michael Henry Spang, the Danish sculptor, carved the three figures on the pediment facing the park. They were in position by 1759. (fn. 77)
By the spring of 1766 the decoration and furnishing of Spencer House was probably complete, for in the previous December Lord Spencer had written to Sir William Hamilton at Naples, 'My house in Town is at last near being finished, and I believe will be fit to open next spring.' (fn. 72)
There is a very full contemporary description of the house by Arthur Young. (fn. 78) 'I do not apprehend', he wrote, 'there is a house in Europe of its size, better worth the view of the curious in architecture, and the fitting up and furnishing great houses, than Lord Spencer's in St. James's Place. . . . I know not in England, a more beautiful piece of architecture. Nor is the fitting up and furniture of the rooms, inferior to the beauties of the outside.' He then described some of the important rooms, their furniture and pictures: 'The next room is to me a phoenix, it is called the painted one; 24 by 22: on one side is a bow-window ornamented with the most exquisitely carved and gilt pillars you can conceive; the walls and cieling are painted in compartments by Mr. Steuart, in the most beautiful taste. . . . Nothing can be lighter or more beautiful than the chimneypiece; the frieze contains a most exquisite painting representing a clandestine marriage. . . . The soft expression of the naked, and the beauty of the heads are very great. . . . The frames of the tables, sofas, stands, etc. etc. are all carved and gilt in the same taste as the other ornaments of the room, all with a profusion of richness, but with the utmost elegance.' He concludes, 'No expence was spared by the noble owner, and neither the brightest fancy nor the correctest judgement wanting to conduct the whole.'
John Gwynn, however, was sharply critical of the exterior: 'that which ought to be the subordinate part (the basement) is too large, and the state story, which should be the principal, is too small, consequently the subordination is destroyed, and the effect of that which ought to be the principal, is, by this equality of parts, rendered otherwise'. (fn. 79) Thomas Malton, too, found fault with the exterior: 'Spencer house is a noble structure of the Doric order, and has an imposing effect; but upon a closer examination, we discover many defects. The pediment is too lofty, and has not the grace and majesty of the low Grecian pediment. The order should have had a greater elevation, sufficient to include two ranges of windows, or it should not have been returned on the sides of the building. This is a striking example, of the impropriety of employing the Doric order in private houses; its column is too short, its entablature too large, and all its proportions too massy, to admit of such apertures, as are necessary to the cheerfulness of an English dwelling. The statues on the pediment, and the vases at each extremity, must be mentioned with applause; as they are in good style, and judiciously disposed.' (fn. 80)
In April 1768 Lord Spencer purchased the freehold of Spencer House, (fn. 66) and thereafter few changes took place in the building. Sir Robert Taylor, however, was called in to decorate the staircase compartment. In 1772 Mrs. Howe wrote to Lady Spencer, 'Pray say what Lord Spencer determined as to the London staircase. I shall probably not see Taylor a great while, was he with you before you went?' (fn. 72) Taylor's work on the staircase, which he presumably executed shortly after this letter was written, was the addition of the coffered decoration of the vault over the staircase (Plate 257a), left plain by Vardy.
It is also known that Henry Holland was employed by the second Earl Spencer, from about 1785, upon alterations to the house. He provided the Ionic colonnades in the dining-room with scagliola shafts in 1786 and changed the colours of the walls and ceiling. In 1792 he remodelled what was then the small dining-parlour and Lord Spencer's room as the two green drawing-rooms, by inserting two new doorways, by closing up others and by moving the chimneypieces from the dividing wall to their present position beneath the window. At the same time the walls of both rooms were hung with green silk-damask. (fn. 72) There are a number of receipts at Althorp for various sums of money paid to Holland, but it is impossible to distinguish those for work at Spencer House from others for the adjoining houses of Lord Spencer in St. James's Place, and for work connected with the enclosure of the garden.
Later, in about 1807, the second Earl also employed (Sir) John Soane to remodel the 'Alcove Room' as a library (see page 526 n.).
In 1846 and in the following years some repairs and minor alterations were carried out under the supervision of Philip Hardwick. These included the substitution of plate glass for the original small window panes and the installation of gas lighting. (fn. 81)
The house ceased to be a private residence in 1927. The furniture (fn. 3) and mahogany doors were removed to Althorp and the house was occupied by the Ladies' Army and Navy Club (fn. 4) until 1943. Under the threat of bombing, the marble chimneypieces and the greater part of the skirting boards, chair-rails and other decorative fittings were taken out and have now been installed by the present Earl Spencer at Althorp. The painted room remains intact.
In 1943 the house was taken by the Ministry of Works and used as an office for the nursing services until 1948, when it became the temporary home of Christie's, the auctioneers, (fn. 50) while their bomb-damaged premises in King Street were being rebuilt. Since 1956 the house has been leased to British Oxygen Gases Ltd., and is now used by the company as its head office. The building was restored for the company in 1956–7 by Robert Atkinson and Partners.
Architectural description: Lord Montfort's house
Lord Montfort leased an oblong site fronting 100 feet north to St. James's Place, and 68 feet on the west towards Green Park. Vardy designed for this a house comprising a basement and two storeys, with attic pavilions flanking a pitched roof containing garrets (Plate 250). The 'parlour floor' plan is roughly L-shaped, the short west arm containing two state rooms, a square drawingroom and a double-square library. Transverse walls divide the long north arm into three parts— narrow between wide—the middle part containing the front hall, entered through a projecting porch with canted side bays, and leading to an octagonal vestibule. On each side of the hall is a large room, that to the west being the dining-room, behind which is a corridor leading axially from the octagon and serving the great staircase and the state rooms. The staircase projects considerably from the back building line and has beside it a small waitingroom. East of the front hall is an apse-ended parlour and behind this is a short passage leading to the back stairs, past an ante-room. The plan is beautifully contrived in every detail, for instance the extremely sensible and yet highly decorative treatment of the main west corridor, and this skill must serve as evidence to absolve Vardy from full responsibility for the diffuse plan of Spencer House.
The west front to Green Park is a Palladian design, probably derived from the south front of Wilton House, a prototype greatly favoured by architects of the Burlington school. The composition here is simple, a smooth ashlar front set slightly forward from rusticated angles and containing two tiers of five windows, widely and evenly spaced, each tier being underlined by a plain pedestal. Each ground-storey window is dressed with a moulded architrave and a cornice, but each end window has a projecting apron, and the middle opening reaches the ground-floor level and is furnished with a panelled wood apron opening to three steps descending to the terrace. The windows in the lofty principal storey have each a moulded architrave, narrow pulvino, and cornice, each end window being emphasized by a balustraded apron, out-curving jambs flanking the architrave, and a triangular pediment, while the middle window has a more prominent balustraded apron resting on block-corbels, and its segmental pediment is broken to admit a bust. Above the modillioned main cornice is a balustrade of three bays, extending between the attic pavilions, each of which has a small window in a plain face and finishes with a triangular pediment.
The plan and west elevation offer some evidence of the design of the north front, for which no drawing appears to have survived. The northern return face of the western range is shown to project slightly and it was, perhaps, to be treated as a rusticated face with a plain attic leaving the north front proper as a symmetrical composition with the splay-sided porch, probably surmounted by a bay window, placed between flanking faces each three windows wide and, probably, three storeys high.
Architectural description: Spencer House
The plans of Spencer House, published in volume IV of Vitruvius Britannicus (Plate 251), look so indeterminate that it is hard to believe that so generally accomplished an architect as John Vardy could have produced them. The phenomenon is explained, however, by the building's history which clearly shows that the final plan (Plate 252b) is an altered and extended version of Vardy's earlier plan for a smaller building, Lord Montfort's house, described above (Plate 250).
It seems fairly certain that Spencer House was begun to the 'Montfort' plan and that the ground storey was covered in before John Spencer acquired the ground to the south, making it possible to add a third state room to the two planned for each storey of the west front range, but necessitating an alteration to the plans in order to give separate access to all three rooms by a north-south corridor. This meant the loss of the original waiting-room, but gave space to enlarge the principal staircase, the going of which was altered. A large and deep hall was formed in place of the original hall and octagonal vestibule, and the plan was completed by building the single-depth range fronting south, containing a basement and two low storeys of rooms, and the two-storeyed kitchen on the east, thus enclosing an L-shaped court.
Before describing the exterior of Spencer House, it is worth observing that the Doric order of the principal storey is very similar to that employed by Kent in his design for the proposed Royal Palace in Hyde Park, a late work in which he must have been assisted by Vardy, and therefore a strong point in favour of Vardy's having designed Spencer House.
None of the critics, whose views have been quoted in the historical account, mentions the great advantage that the west front derives by having before it a paved terrace, some fourteen feet broad, raised over the former Catherine Wheel Yard by brick groined vaults and fronted with a wall of stonework, rusticated and vermiculated, forming a low arcade with seven arched recesses corresponding to those in the ground storey of the front, and three more in each slightly recessed flanking face. Each arch frames a threelight lunette window above a plain ashlar face, and the wall is finished with a plain bandcourse and a balustrade with pedestals at the appropriate intervals. The four raked buttresses which detract from the effect of this arcaded basement were built in 1846.
The west front itself (Plates 253a, 254a, 255) may be broadly described as a Palladian composition with a rusticated arcade, with seven windowed recesses, forming the base for a principal storey dressed with a Doric colonnade of seven bays, the middle five crowned with a great triangular pediment and each bay containing a pedimented window. The ground-storey arcade is built in regular courses of chamfer-jointed stones, with the voussoired arches rising from wide piers with moulded imposts. Each arch frames a recessed face containing a rectangular sash window, flanked by plain pilaster-jambs, their caps continuing the imposts, with a plain tympanum filling the arch. A moulded cornice and blocking-course finish the ground storey, the last forming a plinth for the Doric three-quarter columns and end pilasters, and for the balustraded pedestal-aprons of the windows, each dressed with a moulded architrave flanked by plain narrow jambs with scroll-consoles supporting a pediment, alternately segmental and triangular. The Doric columns and pilasters are without pedestals and have plain shafts, and they support a rich entablature with alternate metopes of circular paterae and bucrania in the triglyphed frieze. The entablature is broken back to the wall face in each end bay, leaving a projecting block above each end column, but it continues across the five middle bays where the cornice is returned to form a triangular pediment, its tympanum containing a circular window wreathed and flanked by palm branches. This pediment rises against a pedestalparapet, with open balustrades between boldly projecting dies, those above each end column supporting tall ovoid amphorae. On the pedestals at the foot and apex of the pediment stand the graceful statues of draped female figures carved by Spang.
The north front (Plates 253b, 254b) is incomplete, the wide central face being flanked by a single pilaster only of the east pavilion that was designed to balance the west. This west pavilion forms a handsome and appropriate return to the west front, its rusticated ground storey having a single round-arched recess containing a window, now walled up, between wide imposted piers each pierced by a narrow window, originally false, with a flat voussoired arch. The Doric order of the west front is used in the principal storey, with pilasters dividing the three bays. In the wide middle bay is a Venetian window of Kentian character, having a balustraded pedestal, Doric columns with simple entablatures to the narrow side lights, and a plain fan-shaped tympanum surrounding the moulded archivolt of the middle light. Each narrow side bay contains a niche above a plain pedestal, and a sunk rectangular panel above a moulded stringcourse. Above the main entablature is a plain triangular pediment, rising against the balustraded parapet.
The rusticated treatment is continued across the ground storey of the wide central face, with two arched recesses containing windows on either side of a slightly projecting centre, where the arched doorway is framed by a Doric doorcase and flanked by niches and small square windows above the impost. The front door of two leaves, each with three fielded panels, is set below a simple fanlight, and the doorcase is composed of rusticated pilasters, an entablature with a plain frieze, and a triangular pediment. The upper part of the central face is of plain ashlar and it contains the windows of the principal and chamber storeys. A pedestal links the balustraded aprons of the principal-storey windows, the middle one being a Venetian window with Doric pilasters and simple entablatures to the side lights. On either side are two rectangular windows, each framed with a moulded architrave, flanked with plain narrow jambs and scroll-consoles supporting the cornice. The middle window of the chamber storey has an oblong opening framed in an eared and lugged architrave; the two windows on either side were originally oblong but are now square, and they have unbroken moulded architraves. Only the mutuled cornice of the main Doric entablature is carried across this central face, where it is surmounted by a high blocking-course and a balustraded parapet with pedestals at the appropriate intervals, largely concealing the five triangularpedimented dormers of the garret.
The area railings are of simple design, alternately plain and acanthus-tipped, with vase finials to the standards, and a fine lamp-iron on each side of the doorway.
A five-sided bay, comprising a brick-faced basement and two stone-faced upper storeys, each underlined with a pedestal, projects from the south return front of the west range, between single Doric pilasters with entablature-blocks supporting an open triangular pediment, its mutuled cornice constructed of wood. At the base of the narrow flanking face is the back door, with a stone doorcase having Ionic plain-shafted columns supporting a triangular-pedimented entablature. The plain brick front of the south range consisted originally of a basement and two low storeys, all five windows wide, the sole decorative feature being the stonework of the Ionic Venetian window in the middle of the first storey.
The hall (Plate 256a) is a deep oblong room with fully rounded angles, each containing a niche. The round-arched entrance doorway in the north end wall is framed with a moulded archivolt rising from imposted piers, and the wall face above is decorated with a large tablet, lugged at the base and capped with a cornice. In the south end wall is a taller round-arched opening, finished with an unbroken moulded architrave, originally framing a sash window but now containing the doors to the lift-shaft. There are two doorways in each side wall, those in the east wall flanking the fireplace, each door having three fielded panels on either side of a central astragal, and the doorcase consisting of an enriched moulded architrave, a bay-leaf ornamented pulvino, and an enriched cornice. The pedestal-dado of the walls has a wide rail with a band of fish-scale ornament, and the plain wall face above is finished with a rich Roman Doric entablature in which the triglyphs are replaced by bucrania, linked by bay-leaf garlands looped below such motifs as vases, ewers, axes, helmets, trumpets with palm branches, and an occasional patera. The mutules in the soffit of the cornice corona are not articulated, and they are linked by lozenges. The stone chimneypiece projects boldly, its massive pilaster-jambs having panelled faces and, in front, consoles carved with stiff acanthus leaves supporting forward breaks in the cornice-shelf. A similar break occurs over the central 'tablet' of the frieze, which takes the form of carved drapery depending from two ram heads and flanked by scrolls ending in volutes over the angles of the architrave framing the fireplace opening. Over the chimneypiece the plain wall face is broken by a large relief in plaster, a copy of the profile half-length portrait of Antinous, an antique Roman marble in the Villa Albani, here reduced to a circular form and framed in an enriched moulding. The cornice of the main entablature forms a wide border to the flat ceiling, where a cross-banded reeded moulding is raised to form three circles, the large middle one framing a ring of lightly coffered wedge-shaped panels radiating from a chandelier-boss of formalized leaves. The smaller circles are plain within, but they are surrounded by slightly sunk moulded panels, leaving a plain margin. It remains to say that nothing in the decoration of this hall is inconsistent with Vardy's style, except for the central panel of the ceiling which might have been added by Taylor.
The room entered by the first door on the east side of the hall is described on Vardy's plan as the 'anty room', but was later known as the 'hall room'. An oblong in plan, it has two windows in its north wall and, opposite, the fireplace between two doors. The pedestal of the walls is plain but the face above is divided into panels by raised plaster mouldings, probably a later decoration. The cornice begins with a deep and flat cyma ornamented with acanthus leaves, and a plain cove rises to the key-fret border framing the flat ceiling. This room has been divided into two and the fireplace has been removed.
The first door on the west side of the hall opens now to the original dining-parlour, later known as the 'small green drawing-room'. This is an oblong room decorated in Kent's Palladian manner, having two windows in its long north wall and a wide semi-elliptical apse opening out of the opposite wall (Plate 260a). Intended, no doubt, to contain a sideboard, this apse now has a twoleaved door between its two original niches, the door replacing two smaller doors in the recessed flanking wall faces, originally opening to small lobbies. The door from the hall is shown on Vardy's plan of 1763 (Plate 252b), but not on the Vitruvius Britannicus plan of 1767 (Plate 251). In fact, it originally served a hall cupboard and was not opened up until 1930, while the corresponding door in the west wall is known to have been inserted by Holland in 1792, displacing the original fireplace from which a substitute was formed in the pier between the windows. The dominant feature of the room is the apse, framed by an arch rising from plain piers finished with an enriched impost, having a fluted band which is repeated in the archivolt. The impost is continued inside the apse above a plain face originally containing only the two plain niches, but now broken by the egg-and-dart ovolo architrave of the later door opening. The arch soffit is modelled with octagonal coffers containing formal flowers, similar ornaments being applied outside the octagons to make up squares. The semidome is treated after the manner of those in the twin temples of Venus and Rome, a favourite Palladian motif, here with plain ribs interlacing to form a pattern of diamond-shaped coffers, diminishing in size towards the crown, each coffer containing a formal flower and similar but smaller flowers covering the rib intersections. Above the pedestal-dado of painted wood, the walls are covered with a paper similar to the figured green silk-damask that gave the room its later name. The rich plaster entablature has a frieze of oak-leaf garland and an enriched scroll-modillioned cornice. A large circular panel, sunk within a dentilled cornice and framed with a guilloche band, fills the centre of the ceiling but leaves room at each end for three smaller panels, one a semi-circle within an egg-and-dart moulding, and the others spandrel shapes within acanthus mouldings, the panels and margins being quite plain. The Holland doorway in the west wall has a simply designed doorcase with a moulded architrave, a fluted frieze, and a moulded cornice.
The adjoining room, originally Lord Spencer's room and latterly known as the 'large green drawing-room', is the first of the three state rooms in the ground storey of the west range. Almost a square in plan, it originally had one window in the north wall and another in the west, two doors in the south wall, one of them false, and a jib-door south of the fireplace in the east wall. This last was closed up when Holland inserted the large doorway and moved the fireplace to the north wall. (fn. 5) In this room the skirting-moulding and rail of the pedestal (modern) are enriched, and the walls are finished with a plaster cornice that begins with a deep and flat cyma ornamented with acanthus and water-leaves. A plain deep cove rises to the wave-scroll border framing the flat ceiling. At each end of the south wall is a six-panelled door, replacing a carved and painted original, framed by a doorcase composed of an enriched architrave, an incurved frieze of acanthus leaves, and an enriched dentilled cornice. The large two-leaf door in the east wall has a doorcase in Holland's neo-classical manner, the architrave being flanked by narrow panelled jambs with shaped brackets, ornamented with chestnut leaves and oval paterae, supporting a delicate cornice finished with a receding cove. This room is now divided into two, its chimneypiece has been removed, and the walls are painted.
The next room, the dining-room or 'great eating-room', takes up the middle of the west range's ground storey (Plate 258b). An oblong in plan, its great length is reduced by transverse colonnades forming screened bays at each end, these containing the original doors to the room. There are three windows in the long west wall, and the fireplace was in the middle of the east wall. This room is basically of Vardy's designing and he shows it in cross-section on his drawing (Plate 252a) with a screen of plain-shafted Ionic columns supporting an entablature with a plain frieze. Another of his drawings (Plate 258a), dated 1757, is an alternative scheme for the decoration, using Corinthian columns for the screens and introducing pilasters of the same order to divide the walls of the main room into three bays, roughly corresponding in width to the narrow-wide-narrow intercolumniations of the screens. This drawing clearly portrays the marble chimneypiece that was executed for the room, but shows it continued with a shaped picture-panel flanked by female terms supporting a scrolled pediment and a cartouche, very much in the Jones-Kent taste. The executed scheme has plain walls between the pedestal and the entablature, which has a frieze modelled with standing putti, bucrania and candelabra, all linked by festooned oak-leaf garlands, and an enriched modillioned cornice. At each end of the main room the entablature forms a trabeation resting on two widely spaced Ionic columns with respondent antae against the long walls only. It is recorded that Holland gave marbled scagliola shafts to these columns, which are now painted, but the white marble bases and the capitals also appear to be his work. The columns are spaced to correspond with the longitudinal ribs of the ceiling, which is divided after the pattern of the Queen's House hall ceiling, with a near square at each corner, an oblong on each side, and an oval in the middle. The compartments are plain within, except for the acanthus-boss in the oval, but the ribs have enriched cornices and soffits of double guilloche pattern, each intersection being marked with a pendant of acanthus leaves surrounding an artichoke. Similar pendants decorate the simply panelled soffits of the screen entablatures. The narrow bays behind the screens have slightly lower ceilings, surrounded by the architrave only of the entablature, and each ceiling is divided by beams into three compartments, the middle one an oval and all having single guilloche borders. According to Arthur Young the ceiling and cornice in this room were painted white and green. The six-panelled doors were originally of mahogany; each has a doorcase composed of an enriched architrave, a shaped frieze decorated with festoons, and an enriched dentilled cornice. A new doorway has displaced the original fireplace, and the room has been divided into three by transverse screens glazed at the top so that the entire ceiling can still be seen.
The ground-storey suite ends with the south drawing-room, later used as a library and latterly known as 'Lord Spencer's room'. It is almost a square in plan and as large as the north drawingroom, but on its south side is an arch opening to the alcove, a tri-lobed compartment formed in the pentagonal bay that projects from the south return front (Plate 259a). In the body of the room the walls are plain except for the carved skirting-moulding and cornice-rail of the Corinthian pedestal, and the doorcases (fn. 6) which are similar to those in the north drawing-room. The splendid entablature of plaster is closely modelled on that of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, the most noticeable change being the introduction of putti, with bifurcated tails of acanthus-scrolls, into the frieze decoration of griffins, candelabra and vases on pedestals. The ceiling has a large oval panel, plain and deeply sunk within an enriched modillioned cornice and a border moulding of bayleaf garland, the wide marginal soffit being plain. In each angle is a spandrel panel, less deeply sunk within a foliated moulding. The entablature projects from the south wall to rest on the four engaged Corinthian columns which divide the wall into three bays. In the wide middle bay is the unmoulded round-arched opening to the alcove, and each side bay contains a plain niche. The plainshafted columns are encased for above half their height with palms, bound at impost level with bay garlands and spreading out above to follow the curves of the arch and niches. This charming conceit is taken from the design for the King's bedchamber at Greenwich, engraved by Vardy and published in his folio Some Designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. William Kent.
The interior of the alcove is Vardy's most beautiful contribution to the decoration of Spencer House (Plate 259). It consists of a square compartment ceiled with a shallow dome on pendentives, and having apses opening out of its south, east and west sides. In each angle of the square is a quarter-column encased with palm, which expands luxuriantly over each pendentive. A fret-ornamented cornice surrounds the dome, the surface of which is divided by leaf-garlanded ribs into eight sectors, each panelled with nine quadrangular coffers, forming three rings each with a different design of flowers. Festooned garlands link the ribs at their heads and in the centre of the dome is a circular panel filled with curling acanthus leaves within a wave-scrolled border. The arches surrounding the apse semi-domes are plain, rising from plain piers with Corinthian imposts, but each semi-dome is richly treated with six rings of ten quadrangular coffers, again with flowers of different design in each ring, and a shell ornament in the crown. The east and west apses have plain walls above the Corinthian pedestal, but the south apse contains a window, the moulded archivolt of its arched head rising into the semi-dome. (fn. 7) One of Vardy's drawings in the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects is a sheet of studies for the pedestal mouldings and dome coffers in the alcove.
Although this room has not been divided, it has lost its mahogany doors and the beautiful chimneypiece of white and Siena marbles, with male terms supporting the cornice-shelf and flanking a frieze carved with festoons, palms, paterae and a central vase. The present decoration in pale flat colours lacks the richness imparted by gilding in the original scheme.
This suite is served by the passage leading south from the principal staircase. It is simply decorated, with plain walls and a cross-vaulted ceiling resting on Tuscan corbels.
The second doorway in the west wall of the hall gives access to the principal staircase, which is contained in an oblong compartment two storeys in height, with a high segmental barrel-vaulted ceiling (Plate 257a). Vardy's sectional drawing (Plate 252a) makes it clear that the design is his except for the festoons between the capitals of the Ionic pilasters, the decoration of the entablature frieze, and the segmental ceiling, all of which were added by Taylor in 1772, Vardy having intended a high quadrant cove on all sides, rising to a flat compartmented ceiling.
The stone stair rises along the west, south and east walls to end at a gallery landing projecting from the north end wall, with three flat cantilever brackets, richly ornamented, dividing the soffit into three compartments, that at each end being coffered with lozenges and triangles, and the middle one with a flattened hexagon and triangles, the design and its rich ornamentation fully according with Vardy's original drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Plates 256b, 257b). On the north wall below the soffit is an architrave and frieze, its ornamentation related to the soffit compartments. In the middle is a wreathed lion head flanked by foliage festoons, on the right is an ox head and on the left a boar head, both wreathed and flanked with drapery festoons, while below the cantilevers are ewers within wreaths. Apart from this decoration the walls of the first stage are quite plain. A moulded stringcourse of wood, with a wave-scrolled band, underlines the upper stage where Ionic pilasters of wood, with fluted unentasized shafts, divide each side wall into five equal bays and each end wall into three, the middle one wider than the others (Plate 257a). Apart from the delicate leaf-garland festoons added by Taylor to link the Ionic capitals, the side bays are plain, but the pilasters on the south end wall overlay a Venetian window, which is reflected on the north wall by an arched recess and two doorways. The pilasters support an unbroken entablature of plaster, having a frieze of palmettes added by Taylor, and an enriched dentilled cornice. The tympanum of each end wall is plain, but the segmental barrel-vaulted ceiling is elaborately decorated, being divided into bays by lightly articulated ribs of an elaborate guilloche pattern. Each of the five bays is patterned with square coffers, five larger squares each surrounded with twelve smaller squares, the larger being ornamented with a boss of eight large leaves and eight foliage sprouts radiating from a flower, the smaller containing flower-bosses of two different patterns. The curious stair railing of fretted metal sheets painted to resemble drapery festooned from acanthus scrollwork is shown on Vardy's sectional drawing, and its scroll-sectioned handrail is of fine mahogany.
The three front rooms in the principal storey of the north range have been altered and divided, but they were originally finished in a simple style with plain ceilings, the walls having a pedestal and a reduced entablature. In Lady Spencer's bedroom the frieze is fluted, but in the dressing-room and ante-room it is ornamented with ewers and paterae in alternation.
The principal storey of the west range is taken up by the splendid suite of three rooms decorated by James Stuart—the 'great room' in the centre, opening to the 'red drawing-room' on the north and the 'painted room' on the south. The 'great room' is just less than a double-square in plan and was obviously intended for a 'double-cube' by Vardy, who drew it on his section (Plate 252a) with a rich Corinthian pedimented doorway central in the end wall, this being plain but for the pedestal and for the rich entablature below the great plain cove of the ceiling. There are three windows in the long west wall, a doorway in the centre of each end wall, and small doorways at each end of the east wall where the fireplace had a central position (Plates 260b, 261). The form of the room is Vardy's but the decoration, in the main, is Stuart's. The (modern) pedestal around the walls has an enriched skirting-moulding, a plain die, and a cornice-rail with enriched mouldings and a fluted fascia. The walls above were once hung with orange-red figured silk-damask (shown in fig. 210 in Francis Lenygon's Decoration in England, from 1660 to 1770). Latterly they were divided into panels by enriched mouldings, and painted green, and now they are covered with a mulberry-coloured paper resembling a figured damask, setting off admirably the great doorcase in each end wall, the smaller doorcases in the east wall, and the superb plasterwork of the entablature, cove and ceiling. Each end doorcase is composed of two fluted Corinthian columns, standing free in front of pilasters and supporting an entablature that has a fluted frieze of flattened cyma profile, taken from the colonnade of the Incantada at Salonika, and a highly ornamented cornice with dentils and modillions. (fn. 8) The door, originally of mahogany with three fielded panels on either side of an astragal, is framed with a rich architrave having a wide fascia of formal leaf decoration, and above, on a line with the capitals, is a panel of foliage scrollwork. The windows and the smaller doors have similar architraves, each doorcase being finished with a frieze ornamented with five wreaths, of flowers and foliage alternately, and an enriched cornice.
The walls end with an egg-and-dart moulding below a frieze of rich acanthus scrollwork and a highly enriched cornice. Wide ribs, richly moulded and having a central band of bay garland, rise near the angles of the cove and intersect to form the frame of the central ceiling compartment. The whole surface of the cove is patterned with coffers, lozenges in the angles, twice-sunk octagons and small diagonal squares in the main faces, all the coffers having plain margins and containing formal flowers. The regular pattern of this coffering is partly overlaid by the high-relief vases with trailing floral festoons in the angles, and by the great circular medallions and their supporters (originally gilded) in the centre of each main face. In the centre of the east cove is a medallion of the three Graces wreathed in foliage and flanked by amorini. Opposite, the medallion portrays Venus in a dolphin-drawn shell between cupids, again flanked by amorini. At the south end the subject is 'Music' with a muse bestowing a laurel crown on the seated Apollo, the medallion being flanked by seated griffins. The north end medallion, which probably represents 'Hospitality' by a standing female pouring a libation for a seated male, is wreathed with vines and flanked by seated leopards. The central compartment of the ceiling contains three shallow saucer-domes, all coffered, the middle one with octagons and small diagonal squares, and that at each end with lozenges. Each dome now contains a central boss of curving acanthus leaves, and is framed with a fluted band and an egg-and-dart ovolo moulding inside a wide plain margin. The egg-and-dart ovolo is also used to frame the slightly recessed spandrel panels, which are filled with foliated branches convoluting from acanthus fans. This great room is, of necessity, now divided into three by transverse partitions, but these are glazed in the upper parts to permit the ceiling to be seen as a whole. The mahogany doors have been replaced by painted deal, and a doorway has displaced the great chimneypiece of white marble, a Grecian design by Stuart very closely resembling that in the front drawing-room at No. 15 St. James's Square (see page 151).
The south door of the 'great room' has been closed up, but it formerly opened to the south drawing-room. This is the famous 'painted room' (Frontispiece), James Stuart's masterpiece of decoration, with its walls painted in a style that owes something to Pompeii and more to the arabesque paintings of Raphael's school, but is still individual to Stuart who here subordinated his painting to an architectural setting enriched with Grecian details, in plasterwork of an exquisite delicacy. The scheme appears to have been worked out by 1759, the date inscribed in Roman numerals within a tablet above the doorway in Stuart's drawing for the decoration of the north wall (Plate 262a), a design that differs only in a few details from the finished work.
The body of the room is almost square in plan, with one window just off centre in the west wall and the fireplace between two doors in the wall opposite. The north wall (Plate 262b) is divided into three bays by pilasters responding to the columns of the Corinthian screen on the south side, which opens to the apse, or bow window. The ceiling over the body of the room is flat and divided by ribs into compartments, but that over the apse is a semi-saucer-dome. The Corinthian screen (Plate 263b) comprises two columns in antis, without pedestals, the shafts of the columns being fluted and those of the square antae being panelled on each face, as are the pilasters on the north wall. The columns and pilasters support a deep architrave, with enriched mouldings, and a narrow frieze of anthemion ornament, which are continued round the room, but the cornice is reduced to a narrow foliated moulding bordering the ceiling. The architrave soffit between the columns is decorated with key-fret panels in guilloche borders, this decoration and probably the design of the rich capitals being derived from the portico of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina.
The chimneypiece (Plate 263a) is Italian in conception, the fireplace being framed in a moulded architrave of white marble, surmounted by a frieze painted with a copy of the 'Aldobrandini Wedding', the famous ancient Roman painting in the Vatican. On each side is a term of carved and painted wood, the gilt stand merging into a draped female holding a garland and supporting, with a heavily draped head and an upraised arm, the Ionic entablature, which has a plain pulvino and a modillioned cornice. Above this is a fret-banded plinth on which rest three bronzed plaster reliefs of amorini enclosed in gilt eared and lugged frames, a wide relief in the centre and a narrow one on each side. The spaces between them are painted with vines issuing from paired cornucopiae below lyres. The heads of the three frames are linked by a narrow cornice on which rests a large oblong painting on canvas, by Stuart, of amorini at play, enclosed in a gilt moulded frame with eared angles.
The doorway on each side of the chimneypiece has a six-panelled door of mahogany (originally the outer door) hung in a doorcase composed of an enriched architrave, a fluted 'Incantada' frieze, and an enriched dentilled cornice. The more important doorway in the middle bay of the north wall has a wide and more heavily enriched architrave, and a frieze of foliage scrolls extending between the consoles that support the dentilled cornice.
Except for the foliage scrolls and flowers that fill the panels of the pilaster shafts, Stuart's painted decoration does not extend below the scroll-banded rail of the pedestal-dado. The pilaster panels are close copies of an original by Giovanni da Udine in the Vatican loggia, and have a warm yellow ground, but the wall decorations are painted in full colours on a beautiful blue-green ground. The most elaborate treatment is reserved for the north wall where the side bays offer an unbroken field (Plate 262b). In each of these bays the decoration is composed round two painted canvas panels in enriched gilt frames, a roundel at about eye-level and an oblong above. The roundel in the right bay depicts a centaur captured and bound with garlands by two amorini, and its pair has a tamed centaur, playing a lyre, and two amorini. The oblong on the right is painted with magpies on a vine festoon, and that on the left with turtle-doves on a festoon (both noted and admired by Arthur Young). Below each roundel the wall face is painted with a romantic landscape in the style of Zuccarelli, that on the right being a rocky scene with a waterfall, and fighting centaurs in the foreground, while that on the left is a river scene with a bridge. Each landscape appears to hang against an elegant drapery, flanked by harpies on the right bay and by cornucopia-tailed females in the left, all attended by amorini. The drapery is suspended from the roundel frame and from painted scrollwork which also serves to support the graceful females that flank each roundel in dancing attitudes against four Ionic columns, the outside pair surmounted by tripod altars, the inside pair supporting the lugged frame of the oblong painted panel. On top of this frame stands an amorino with a thyrsus in each hand, flanked by chimerical beasts with foliated tails. Above the doorway in the middle bay is a long oval painting on canvas, depicting Venus and Cupid with love's brand, the gilt moulded frame partly overpainted with a festooned garland. Below the oval are crossed torches and on each side is painted a tall two-handled vase. The astragal of the pilasters continues across each bay as a gilt moulding, the space above forming a frieze painted in the middle bay with three wreaths, that in the centre crossed with flower sprays and palms, and in each side bay is a festooned garland of foliage and flowers. In the narrow face beyond each end pilaster is painted a vase of mixed flowers in which stands a thyrsus entwined with honeysuckle.
The vase and honeysuckle motif recurs on the east wall (Plate 263), flanking each doorcase, and above the smaller bronzed reliefs of the chimneypiece are painted candelabra, linked by festooned garlands to the frame of the large painting. Over each doorcase is an oval canvas painted with a group of amorini, above its gilt frame are crossed palm branches and below it hangs a festooned garland, while on each side is painted a tall ewer. The frieze repeats the wreath and festooned garland motifs of the north wall. On each of the wide wall faces flanking the window in the west wall are two roundels amid arabesques, below a repeat of the oval panel and overdoor treatment.
The ceiling (Plate 265b) is divided by ribs corresponding with the spacing of the columns and pilasters, into a simple arrangement of compartments—a large central square, an oblong on each side, and a square in each corner, the inequality of width and length in the room being taken up by narrow marginal compartments on the east and west sides. The ribs have leaf-garland moulding on their soffits, with flowers at the intersections, and fluted fascias below the foliated moulding that frames each compartment. In the central square is a chandelier-rose composed of a flower surrounded by curling acanthus leaves; this is bordered by a wave-scrolled band from which radiates a series of twelve panels forming a fan-like setting for round medallions painted in grisaille with the signs of the Zodiac. Each oblong compartment contains a panel of elongated octagonal shape, with a painting on canvas of three female dancers or musicians, surrounded by panels of delicate foliated arabesque ornament in low-relief plasterwork, the corner panels having plain margins. In each corner compartment is a square panel of canvas, painted with a wreath of flowers and foliage, also surrounded by arabesque and anthemion-ornamented plasterwork panels. The marginal compartments are quite plain.
The wall of the apse (Plate 264) is divided into five bays, wide and narrow alternately, by engaged Corinthian columns similar to those of the screen but smaller, being raised on a pedestal of the same height as that in the body of the room, but finished with a cornice-capping appropriate to the Corinthian order. The pedestal continues unbroken across the narrow bays, but is returned into each wide bay, below a window, that in the east bay being of looking-glass. Each narrow bay contains a mirror in a gilt frame, eared and lugged and finished with a narrow 'Incantada' frieze and cornice. Set in the face above is a canvas roundel painted in cameo with classical figures, like an antique medallion, framed in a gilt moulding and flanked by seated sphinxes with flower baskets on their heads. The frieze-band between the capitals is modelled with husk festoons looped below ewers in the narrow bays, and flanking a patera in each wide bay. The columns support an architrave only, although the plain segmental tympanum above the screen architrave is finished with a rich modillioned cornice following the curvature of the semi-dome.
The semi-dome (Plate 265a) is divided into five sectors by radial ribs, their soffits ornamented with leaf garland. These ribs break first a key-fret band, then a wide band of fluting, before they stop against the curved rib enclosing the crown of the semi-dome which is decorated with two rings of nine quadrangular coffers containing flowers, and a fan composed of palm leaves. Each of the five sectors contains a quadrangular canvas panel painted with a classical figure subject, within a wide border delicately modelled with foliated arabesques, flowers and anthemion ornaments.
The north door of the 'great room' opened to the north drawing-room, later known as the 'red drawing-room' from the colour of the figured silkdamask that originally covered the walls between the pedestal and the entablature. This room is little more than a square in plan, having a window in its west wall, another in the north, and the fireplace formerly in the east wall. The (modern) pedestal has an enriched skirting-moulding, a plain die, and an enriched cornice-rail. The doorway in the south wall has an enriched moulded architrave, a frieze decorated with foliage-scrolls extending from a wreath, and a rich dentilled cornice resting on scroll-consoles. The walls are finished with a reduced entablature comprising an egg-and-dart ovolo, an anthemion-ornamented frieze, and a highly enriched cornice with a fluted fascia.
The flat ceiling is decorated with finely detailed plasterwork in the Grecian taste, contained in a large square panel flanked on the east and west by wide guilloche-ornamented ribs, with plain margins beyond. The geometrical design is based on a ring of eight small circular panels, obviously intended to contain medallion paintings. These circles are surrounded by a wide plain margin, bordered on the inside by a band of anthemion ornament, forming an octagon with incurved sides, and on the outside by a band of ornaments composed of foliated scrolls extending from paterae, forming an octagon with outcurved sides, the curvature of the segments in both borders radiating from the centres of the small circles. The spandrels of the square are filled with acanthus-scrolls and flower sprays and in the centre is a rich acanthus-boss of curling leaves.
The decoration of the north-south passage, leading off the staircase landing and serving the state rooms, has every appearance of being Taylor's work. The plain walls are divided into seven bays by narrow plain pilasters, but the ceiling treatment is unusually charming. The three middle bays are barrel-vaulted, each bay ornamented with a raised moulding to form a large panel, its incurved corners following the curve of an anthemion ornament resting on the cornice. At each end of the vault is a semi-dome, modelled with wide flutes which extend from an anthemion fan and end in small shells. Beyond this the ceiling is flat, but the plan of the semi-dome is reflected in reverse by a fan-shaped arrangement of panels.
Spencer House stables and garden
Spencer House stables were on the south side of Catherine Wheel Yard, immediately behind the house. Their site was first leased to John Spencer in 1760 and they were included in his later purchase of the freehold in 1768. (fn. 66) There is at Althorp a plan of a stable block, with laundries and other offices, for Spencer House, but it is unsigned, and it is not known if it is the plan used for the stables which were erected in 1765. (fn. 14) In 1843 part of the block was pulled down for the formation of Little St. James's Street and a new block may have been built at this time. The range, which was destroyed in the war of 1939–45, was a long and narrow building of two storeys on the south side of the stable yard. Its north front was designed in a simple Palladian style and built of brick, sparingly dressed with stone. The ground storey was an arcade of nine bays, the arches rising from piers with plain plinths and imposts of stone, and the upper storey face contained the same number of windows, all small and straight-arched except for that in the middle, which was accented by its round arch. The three middle bays were broken slightly forward and finished with a triangular pediment, the lower cornice being omitted in the centre to allow for the rising arch of the accented window. A third storey had been added in 1935 to the designs of Williams and Cox of 34 Henrietta Street. The present building, consisting of garages and maisonettes, was erected in 1948–9 from the designs of Messrs. W. Curtis Green, Son and Lloyd. (fn. 82)
For many years Spencer House was without a garden, though the terrace, on the west side, overlooked Green Park. The front of the terrace was built on a slip of land belonging to the park, under licence granted by a royal warrant of 3 March 1756. (fn. 67) The terrace itself was built over what was then part of Catherine Wheel Yard, which ran southwards from St. James's Place and under Lord Spencer's windows. Lord Montfort, when planning to build a house on the same site, had complained of the nuisances committed in this passage and had unsuccessfully tried to have it closed. (fn. 63) When Spencer House was built, the terrace was erected over the passage, and pedestrians entering from St. James's Place passed first down a flight of stone steps in the courtyard between Spencer House and No. 26 St. James's Place, through the arched corridor under the terrace and then out on to the open passage skirting Cleveland House.
In February 1799 Lord Spencer received a lease of a plot of land in the Green Park to enclose as a garden (fn. 83) (see page 541).
In 1850, after negotiations between the then Earl Spencer and the Bridgwater trustees, the southern portion of the garden was given up by Lord Spencer and added to the garden of Bridgwater House, which was then nearing completion. (fn. 84)
Nos. 28–31 (consec.) St. James's Place
No. 30 rebuilt
In 1691 William Gulston, Aaron Kinton, Roger Jacson, John Milbourne and John Rossington (see page 493) sold to the Marquis of Halifax, for £5750, a piece of Cleveland House garden which measured 180 feet from east to west and 145 feet from north to south. (fn. 85) On this site six houses were built facing St. James's Place, part of the land being given up to provide an open courtyard before them. At their rear a row of stables was built to form the north side of a new stable yard, i.e., Catherine Wheel Yard. In front of the easternmost house, another small square house (No. 31) was erected, its frontage lining up with the other houses on the south side of St. James's Place. At least four out of the group of six were leased in 1691 by the Marquis of Halifax to Hugh Jones in trust for John and Joseph Rossington for terms of sixty-one years, (fn. 86) but the Rossingtons were so heavily involved in debts and mortgages that the houses were not completed until 1696. (fn. 87) Workmen employed by the Rossingtons included Richard Hadland, joiner, (fn. 86) Paul Winckles, smith, and Edward Martin, plasterer. (fn. 88) The freehold of the site descended from the Marquis of Halifax to his granddaughter, Lady Burlington, who, with her trustees, disposed of it. Three of the group of six houses were demolished for the erection of Spencer House. The other three, Nos. 28, 29 and 30, were purchased by the Spencer family at some date before 1794. (fn. 89) No. 31 was bought in 1802 from (? Richard) Maddock by Lady Ann Bingham (fn. 90) who sold it in 1819 to Lord Spencer. (fn. 66) Occupants of note have included: No. 28, William Huskisson, statesman, 1804–6. No. 29, Charles Stanhope, politician, 1719–26, 1728–31; his brother, William Stanhope, first Earl of Harrington, diplomatist and statesman, 1727; Horace Hone, miniature painter, son of Nathaniel Hone, 1809–14. No. 30, Abraham Stanyan, diplomatist, 1716. No. 31, Vice-Admiral Washington Shirley, fifth Earl Ferrers, 1775–7. (fn. 29)
Of the third group of houses built in the 1690's on Cleveland House garden only No. 29 is recognizably of that period, Nos. 28 and 31 having been largely rebuilt in the late eighteenth century. It is probable, to judge from a photograph of 1941, (fn. 91) that No. 30 was also rebuilt at this time.
No. 28 (Plate 247b) contains a basement, three storeys and a garret, and has a dignified front of yellowish-brown stock bricks. Each storey has three widely spaced windows with yellow gaugedbrick flat arches, and the wide, round-arched doorway is in the eastern opening of the ground storey. At first-floor level there is a continuous balcony with a delicate anthemion-ornamented railing and, flanking the doorway, a pair of lamp-holders, complete with torch extinguishers, which spring from the area railing. The door is in two leaves, each with three panels, and at either side is a narrow light, and a patterned fanlight above.
The interior has three rooms to each floor with a large wing, three windows wide, projecting on the east. On the ground floor the western side is divided almost equally between a front and a back room while the eastern side is occupied by a spacious staircase compartment with a small room behind it. The staircase compartment has plaster modillion cornices on the ground- and first-floor landings, and although the upper flights are rather meanly designed in wood, the first flight has stone treads with simple wrought-iron balusters, and sweeps up to the first floor in a single right-angled turn. None of the rooms retains any late eighteenth-century decorations, but one marble chimneypiece from this house has been removed to No. 31. It is inlaid with coloured marble and has narrow fluted pilasters attached to its jambs. The lintel forms a frieze with inlaid marble flutes in pairs, and over it is a mantel-shelf in the form of a dentilled cornice. At either end of the frieze is an urn carved in low relief, and in the centre a tablet with scroll decoration. The back wall and the closet wing have windows with slightly curved heads and box-frames, which probably belonged to the first house on the site, while the back slope of the main roof is a red-tiled mansard of, no doubt, the same date. In the wing is a service stair incorporating fragments of early eighteenth-century work, and at the top of the main stair is the late seventeenth-century gallery balustrade, its turned balusters of the same pattern as those in Nos. 40–45.
No. 29 (Plate 247b) is a storey higher than No. 28 and has three windows closely spaced in each of its upper storeys. The ground storey has been covered with cement but in the upper storeys the brickwork is still exposed, although it has been resurfaced. The windows have box-frames, replacements of the late seventeenth-century originals, the flat-arched openings being dressed with red rubbed bricks, and the second- and third-storey levels are marked by raised bandcourses. The second-storey windows were probably lengthened in the late eighteenth century, and a continuous balcony with a light fret-bordered railing was added. The door is set in a round-arched opening and is a plainer version of the one at No. 28, being six-panelled and hung in a frame with side panels instead of side lights, and a patterned fanlight over. The omission of a bandcourse at fourthstorey level, and the fact that the other houses in the street were originally three-storeyed suggests that the fourth storey is an addition, although the brickwork gives little hint of it. Nothing remains of the original interior except some portions of the staircase, which is of the usual dog-leg pattern with closed strings and turned balusters, and there are wooden box-cornices at the first- and secondfloor landings. The back wall has been entirely rebuilt.
The former No. 30 had a wider front than No. 29 and its three storeys were built out as a bow with three windows to each storey, the entrance being through a curious porch which filled the narrow space dividing the house from No. 31. Over the door was a patterned fanlight and before the tall second-storey windows a continuous balcony with a trellis-patterned iron railing. The flats now on the site were built in 1958.
No. 31 (Plate 247a) occupies a square site with fronts to north, south and west. The basement walls of dull-red brick may have survived from the first house, but the three storeys above are of later building. White tiles now cover the south front, and the west front has been reconstructed in yellow brick, perhaps in the early nineteenth century. The north front has had its brickwork re-surfaced though the heads of its openings are clearly in yellow gauged brick. Apart from the two basement windows of the west front, all the late eighteenth-century work is in the north front. The western part is occupied by a chimney-stack and the eastern part has a wide round-arched doorway in the ground storey (Plate 247c), below single windows lighting each of the three quarter-space landings of the staircase. The front door has four sunk panels, each ornamented with a raised moulding and a fluted border, and the two long upper panels contain patterned leaded glazing. The door-frame has side lights and a fanlight, also patterned, and before the doorway, springing from the area railing, is a simple overthrow lamp-iron. The feature of the west front is a wide, timber-framed, segmental bow window set in a shallow recess in the ground and second storeys. It has three tall lights in each storey and corresponding to them in the third storey are three small flat-headed windows, the middle one blind. The wall is carried up to form a parapet, and behind it is a blue slated mansard roof in which are two dormer windows.
The interior is splendidly wasteful of space with only one room and a closet to each floor, the closet projecting from the east end of the south front. The whole eastern half of the building is given over to a plain wooden staircase, which is constructed round an open well and has open strings, thin square balusters, two to a tread, and a rounded handrail ramped up over a newel at each landing. The only item of particular interest is a chimneypiece inlaid with coloured marble in the closet on the first floor. The ground-floor room also has a good chimneypiece, but this is the one which was removed from No. 28 (see above).
The Pulteney Estate
The west side of the north-south arm of St. James's Place was first built up in the 1690's on what had formerly been part of the Pulteney estate (A, B on fig. 81). In 1668 Sir William Pulteney surrendered Sandpit Field and Six Acre Field to the King for the laying-out of Green Park (see page 27). The eastern side of Sandpit Field, which had an irregular shape, was excluded from the new park, the boundary wall being built in a straight line southwards from the south-west corner of the Six Acre Field—the line later followed by the boundary of St. James's parish from Park Place to Cleveland Row. The part of Sandpit Field thus excluded from the park (then called St. James's Park) lay between the park wall on the west and Cleveland House garden on the east, and remained in the Crown's possession for some years after 1668, being used to accommodate the icehouses for St. James's Palace and Cleveland House.
Among the foreign ways and fashions introduced into England at the Restoration was a method for cooling drinks during hot weather. This was effected by the construction of bricklined pits into which snow and ice were packed during the winter months and into which containers of wine or other drinks were lowered in the summer to be chilled. The pits were covered by a brick or thatched roof to prevent the ice from melting too quickly. What appears to have been the first ice-house in the country was constructed in October 1660 in St. James's Park 'as the mode is in some parts in france and Italy and other hot Countrys, for to Coole wines and other drinks for the sumer season'. (fn. 92) This event was celebrated by Edmund Waller in his Poem on St. James's Park as lately improved by his Majesty:
'Yonder the harvest of cold months laid up,
Gives a fresh coolnesse to the Royal Cup;
There Ice like Christal, firm and never lost,
Tempers hot July with Decembers frost,
Winters dark prison; whence he cannot flie,
Though the warm Spring, his enemy grows nigh.
Strange! that extreames should thus preserve the snow,
High on the Alpes, and in deep Caves below.' (fn. 93)
In all, six ice-houses (five for the royal household and one for the Duchess of Cleveland) were constructed on the part of Sandpit Field which was not incorporated into the park. Their sites are now covered by Nos. 21–25 St. James's Place. The Duchess's ice-house was discovered in 1956 during excavations for a new building on the site of No. 21 St. James's Place and is described below.
There are several references to the construction or repair of ice-houses near Berkshire (Cleveland) House in 1666/7 and 1668/9 but it is not certain that they refer to the ice-houses on the west side of St. James's Place or to others nearby. In February 1666/7 carpenters were employed for 'bourding the doors of the two new snow wells by Barksheire Garden' and in August of the same year labourers dug a 'snowe well in ye feild by Berksheire Garden . . . 24 fot. deepe and 20 fot. wide, digging a draine from ye said well to the horse pond belonging to ye Duke of Yorks stables', which were in the south-east corner of what is now Green Park. (fn. 94) Maurice Emmett, master bricklayer in the Office of Works, was engaged on building another 'Snow Well nr. Barkshire House' in January 1668/9, 'being 19½ foot diameter att the topp and 10½ foot diameter att the bottome and 19 foot deep arched over att the topp with a dormer in it and a foundation att the Bottome 2 foot deep all reduced to a brick and a halfe thick'. He also arched over 'the topp of the old Snow well with brickwork reduced to a brick and a halfe thick cont. 12 Rodd'. At the same time John Channell, carpenter, was employed to make 'the Roof Doorcases, Doores and trusseing of Peices to the well that was burnt . . . [and] a new Roof and Doorcases and Doores and flooring the bottome and trussing of peices into the Snow-well'. (fn. 95)
The site on which the Duchess of Cleveland's ice-house stood was granted to her son, the Duke of Grafton, in 1690 (see No. 21 St. James's Place) and the five royal ice-houses had fallen into decay by 1691. The soil had proved 'inconvenient' for preserving ice and their thatch covers had not been renewed. (fn. 96) James Frontin, keeper or yeoman of their Majesties' ice-house, therefore petitioned the Crown for a lease of the site, offering to build two new ice-houses, one in London and one at Hampton Court, in return. (fn. 97) Francis Parry, one of the Commissioners of Excise, also wished for a lease of part of the site (fn. 98) and the two petitions were considered together. Parry's claim for consideration was that he had suffered considerable losses in An agreement was reached whereby Parry received a lease of the whole site (B on fig. 81) on which the five royal ice-houses stood, and Frontin received an assignment of about half of it from Parry. (fn. 99)
In order to encourage them 'to build houses thereon for their respective habitations' a lease was granted to Parry for sixty-one years in 1692 (fn. 100) and he assigned the northern half of the site to Frontin in the same year. (fn. 101) The later history of Frontin's piece of land will be found under Nos. 22, 23 and 24 St. James's Place and of Parry's under No. 25.
No. 21 St. James's Place
This site was the northernmost part of the strip of Sandpit Field not incorporated into the Green Park at the time of its formation in 1668. Although she was not given a lease, the Duchess of Cleveland was allowed by the King to appropriate the land (A on fig. 81) and add it to her garden which lay on the east. (fn. 102) In 1668, or shortly afterwards, the Duchess had an ice-house constructed on the site (fn. 102) and during excavations there in 1956 this was discovered (Plate 248b, 248c, fig. 83).
The pit had been filled with clay, brick rubble and ash, and in this filling were one or two pieces of pottery of the late seventeenth century (deep blue delft and German stoneware.) From ground level to the deepest part of the sloping floor the pit measured 12 feet 11 inches, the base being 7 feet 3 inches in diameter and the top 13 feet 5 inches. It was lined with brick in English bond and an arched drain, towards which the floor natural decline of the land. Just above the drain the brick lining projected to form a circular ledge where the timber-slatted floor probably rested, though no part of it had survived. The timber floor acted as a sieve for melted ice which would then drain through the brick culvert; it was essential to keep the ice as dry as possible if the icehouse was to be effective.
The site was conveyed with the other parcels of Cleveland House garden by the Crown to the Duchess's son, Henry, Duke of Grafton, in 1690 (fn. 103) and was conveyed by his son's trustees in 1693 to William Gulston and Aaron Kinton in trust for Roger Jacson and John Milbourne (fn. 104) (see page 493). John and Joseph Rossington built a house on the northern half of the site behind a small courtyard and garden. The front wall of the house was built over the centre of the filled-in icewell. The Rossingtons employed George Lane, citizen and carpenter of London, as chief contractor, and borrowed £1600 from John Morse of London to carry out the work. The 'new erected' house was sold in 1700 to Thomas Railton of St. Margaret's, Westminster. (fn. 105) It had apparently been commissioned by Elizabeth, Countess Dowager of Thanet, the first occupant. (fn. 106) Her steward paid £40 to John Cock(e), plumber, who had been employed by Joseph Rossington, for work done at her house in St. James's Place. (fn. 107)
The house was altered in about 1730 by the occupant, Sir William Willys, of Ditton, baronet, who extended it by building over the garden. (fn. 108)
Later occupants included Sir Hildebrand Jacob, the Hebrew scholar, 1746–50, and Francis Rawdon-Hastings, first Marquis of Hastings and second Earl of Moira, soldier and statesman, after whom the house was called, 1790–1805. (fn. 29)
Some of the houses on the west side of St. James's Place are depicted in Hogarth's painting of Green Park in 1760, (fn. 60) and of these the second from the left in the painting is apparently the first house on the site of No. 21, the house immediately to the north of it occupying the site of the present No. 6 Park Place. Its Green Park front was of three storeys, having a flat face with three windows in each storey, to the north of what appears to be a five-sided bay. There were band- courses, probably of stone, at sill level in the ground storey and at floor level in the third storey, and the wall was carried up to form a stone-coped parapet with a row of dormer windows behind it.
A ground-floor plan of the house, surveyed in l808, (fn. 109) shows an L-shaped arrangement, the angle of the 'L', in the south-east corner of the site, being occupied by a walled courtyard. On the north side of the courtyard was the entrance hall with an ante-chamber to the west of it, and to the north of these two rooms were the principal and secondary staircases. West of the courtyard was the dining-room, running the depth of the house, with a three-window bow projecting on the Hogarth painting of 1760. North of the Green Park front, was the breakfast-room with a closet adjoining on the north.
In 1813–14 this house was rebuilt for Sir Mark Masterman Sykes, book collector, who lived there from 1814 until his death in 1823. (fn. 29)
Although it appears to have been completely rebuilt, a plan of 1857 (fig. 84) shows that the ground floor repeated the old arrangement of two large rooms overlooking Green Park, and that the proportions of these rooms correspond closely to those of the former dining-room and breakfastroom, except that the latter had apparently been extended northwards to include the area formerly occupied by a closet. The north-east arm, however, had been completely changed, the main and secondary staircases now being on the south side with rooms to the north and east. An entrance hall had been erected over part of the courtyard, adjoining the former dining-room on the west, and a covered single-storey passage connected it with the street. (fn. 110)
A photograph of 1941 (fn. 91) records the Green Park front (Plate 249b), showing that it was three storeys high and composed of a flat face, three windows wide, with a three-windows-wide bow to the south. It was built of brick, with a bandcourse of stone or stucco below the tall secondstorey windows, which opened to a continuous balcony with a trellis-patterned railing. Beneath each third-storey window was an oblong panel modelled with a festoon and a patera, probably a standard production of Coade stone. The moulded stone cornice was doubtless original but the crowning balustrade with its ball-finials was probably a fairly late addition, for a water-colour of 1847 (Plate 249a) includes a glimpse of this house and shows only a plain parapet with a stone coping. During the war of 1939–45 the house was badly damaged. The site was purchased by the Crown (fn. 111) and in 1958–60 a block of luxury flats was erected on this and the adjoining site of No. 22.
Nos. 22 and 23 St. James's Place
On part of the land assigned to him by Francis Parry, James Frontin built two houses which were both occupied by 1699. (fn. 14) In March 1733/4 Frontin's lease was purchased for Charles, second Duke of St. Albans, who lived in the northern house only until 1735. (fn. 112) In 1736 he combined the two houses into one and he and his successors, who continued to own the head lease, occupied the house, except for a brief interval, until 1801. (fn. 14) Hogarth's painting of 1760 suggests that the two houses then presented to Green Park a uniform front, five windows wide and four storeys high, the brickwork relieved only by the continued sills of each storey and bandcourses below the third and fourth storeys. The ground storey had very small windows, almost in the manner of a classical basement storey.
In March 1801 John (later Sir John) Lubbock, the banker, and Samuel Rogers, the poet, jointly purchased the old house from the fifth Duke of St. Albans with the idea of converting it back into two separate dwellings. They found this idea impracticable, however, because their surveyor, Thomas Leverton, found the house 'badly designed as to Plan and much out of repair'. It was therefore decided to build two new houses on the site and to obtain separate leases from the Crown for each owner. (fn. 113)
Samuel Rogers's house was built on the site of the narrower, northerly, of the two houses built by Frontin and although it was virtually a rebuilding, the surveyor's report implies that some parts of the old structure were incorporated. (fn. 114) James Wyatt was the architect chosen by Rogers, (fn. 115) and the house was completed by 1803.
Wyatt designed a narrow-fronted but deep building containing a basement, four storeys and a garret. A drawing of 1890 (fn. 116) shows that it had a curious front facing St. James's Place, with two openings in the ground storey, a wide three-light window in the second storey and a single window in each of the two topmost storeys. The openings in the ground storey, the southerly of which formed the doorway, had cornice-hoods supported by consoles, while in the second storey the mullions of the window were designed as pilasters supporting an entablature and a triangular pediment. Before this latter window projected a balcony which had been glazed at a later date to form a Wardian case for plants. Stringcourses marked the second- and third-floor levels, and at either end of the fourth storey was a panelled pilaster supporting a crowning cornice and balustrade.
The Green Park front is illustrated in a watercolour of 1847 (Plate 249a). This shows a stucco-faced segmental bow, three windows wide, with delicate cornices finishing each of the four storeys, and a crowning balustrade. The secondstorey windows opened to a balcony with a trellispatterned railing, and above the third-storey windows was a frieze of panels, oblongs and diamonds alternately. The windows were furnished with barred sashes and separated by narrow panelled pilasters, but the fourth storey was treated as a loggia with an urn standing in each of the three openings. A photograph of 1934 (Plate 248a) shows that this front had been changed by the addition of a balcony to the third storey, its railing similar to the one below, and most of the sashes had been replaced with casements, which had also been fitted to the fourth-storey openings. A new open screen, forming a roofless loggia, had been erected above the crowning balustrade.
A plan of 1803 (fig. 85) shows that the ground floor contained two main rooms, one at the front and one at the back, separated by a large staircase compartment. At this level, however, the front room was very small, being reduced in width by the entrance passage and in depth by a small closet. The deep rooms overlooking Green Park were clearly the most important in the house, and one of them was the famous breakfast-room, represented in an engraving in The Illustrated London News of 1856. (fn. 117)
Samuel Rogers was born in 1763, the son of a London banker. He entered the family business when still young, but not long after his father's death in 1793 he retired with a comfortable income and devoted himself to literary and artistic pursuits. (fn. 118) His poetry enjoyed a popularity during his lifetime which has since been eclipsed by the works of the literary giants with whom he associated; he is chiefly remembered now for his breakfast parties and as the butt of Byron's satire. To Rogers's breakfasts were invited many of the wits and chief literary figures of the day, and Lord Macaulay, among others, has left a description of the house, which he first visited at a breakfast in 1831. What a delightful house it is! It looks out on the Green Park just at the most pleasant point. The furniture has been selected with a delicacy of taste quite unique. Its value does not depend on fashion, but must be the same while the fine arts are held in any esteem. In the drawing-room, for example, the chimney-pieces (fn. 9) are carved by Flaxman [junior] into the most beautiful Grecian forms. The bookcase is painted by Stothard, in his very best manner, with groups from Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Boccaccio. The pictures are not numerous; but every one is excellent. In the dining-room there are also some beautiful paintings. But the three most remarkable objects in that room are, I think, a cast of Pope taken after death by Roubiliac; a noble model in terra cotta by Michael Angelo, from which he afterwards made one of his finest statues, that of Lorenzo de'Medici; and, lastly, a mahogany table on which stands an antique vase.' (fn. 119) The vase was presumably the one formerly owned by the Duke of St. Albans and purchased from him by Rogers with the house. It was eighteen inches high, carved in marble, 'of very elegant form, the surface covered with flowers and foliage in relief, with double snake handles'. (fn. 120) The table pedestal on which the vase stood was carved by Sir Francis Chantrey, (fn. 120) then an unknown journeyman carpenter. (fn. 119)
Rogers lived in the house for over fifty years and died there in December 1855. (fn. 118) His collection, which consisted of ancient and modern pictures, drawings, engravings, coins, objets d'art and photographs (including one of his house), his library, plate and furniture were sold in 1856 by Messrs. Christie and Manson. The sale lasted for twenty-two days and realized over £45,000. (fn. 119)
Rogers's house was destroyed during the war of 1939–45; a block of flats has been erected on the site and on the adjoining site of the former No. 21.
John Lubbock took the larger southerly part of the Duke of St. Albans's house for his own occupation and chose Thomas Leverton as his architect. (fn. 115) As in the case of No. 22, some part of the old fabric appears to have been left standing, although the back, two stone staircases and many of the principal timbers were new. The house was finished in 1802, (fn. 14) and cost over £3000. (fn. 121) Leverton, who as one of the assistant surveyors of Crown lands was called upon to survey his own work in order that a new lease might be granted to Lubbock, valued the house as a 'substantial brick Messuage . . . handsomely finished'. (fn. 121)
Lubbock was made a baronet in 1806 and continued to live at No. 23 until his death in 1816. He was succeeded by his nephew, Sir John William Lubbock, merchant and banker, second baronet, from 1816 to 1840, and by his nephew's son, another Sir John William, astronomer and mathematician, from 1840 to 1851. (fn. 122)
The Green Park front of the house designed by Leverton is illustrated in a drawing of 1855 and in an engraving of about the same date. (fn. 123) Neither is consistent with the partial view of the house in a water-colour of 1847 (Plate 249a) which seems much the most reliable. The front was four storeys high and appears to have consisted of a wide segmental bow, three windows wide, to the south of a flat face with a single window in each storey. Above the crowning cornice was a parapet, behind which rose a mansard roof containing a range of dormer windows. Before all four storeys projected a curious arrangement of covered balconies which followed the contour of the wall, the fronts of the balconies being formed of decorated panels. This arrangement was apparently original, since it appears on a plan of 1803 (fig. 85).
The ground floor, as shown in the 1803 plan, comprised two main rooms, one at the front and one at the back, both end walls of the back room being curved, while the narrow space to the north of these rooms contained, from east to west, a small entrance hall, two staircase compartments and an ante-chamber to the back room.
The existing house has a neo-Georgian exterior probably dating from the early part of this century.
No. 24 St. James's Place
The site of this house was part of James Frontin's land left open and used as a garden by the occupier of Nos. 22 and 23 until 1785, when it was assigned to the occupier of No. 25, Robert, Earl of Northington. (fn. 124) In 1795–6 Lord Malden, who had succeeded the Earl of Northington at No. 25, enlarged his house by building on this site. (fn. 14) The rooms in the addition consisted of a kitchen half-sunk below the surface of the ground next to the street, a laundry above, a basement storey behind and an octagon-shaped library. (fn. 125)
The sketch plan of this building in the Soane Museum (fn. 126) (fig. 86) was made while it still formed part of No. 25, and may therefore represent the original layout of 1795–6. It shows two main rooms on the ground floor, an octagon overlooking Green Park, and another large room towards St. James's Place, the latter, apparently, having no windows. The centre of this storey was occupied by several small ante-chambers, one of them leading into the main staircase compartment of No. 25, and there was a secondary staircase.
The Green Park front of the building can just be seen in Dayes's drawing of 1797 mentioned on page 518. Apparently it contained only two, rather lofty, storeys, the western part of the octagon projecting from them as a canted bay with a lean-to roof.
In 1815 Frederick North, Earl of Guilford, the philhellene, (fn. 29) took these additional rooms and made them into a separate house. Although he raised the height of the building and put in staircases, the plan was so inconvenient that the architects who surveyed the property in 1816 judged it more 'adapted to his own particular Views, than those of ordinary Tenants'. (fn. 127)
The ground-floor layout as altered by the Earl of Guilford is shown on a plan of 1817 (fig. 85). The front room now had three openings towards St. James's Place, the southern one a doorway, and a second staircase had been inserted, but otherwise only minor changes had been made.
The Green Park front was altered and can be seen in a nineteenth-century drawing reproduced on Plate XXXVII of Neville Braybrooke's London Green published in 1959. The canted bay now had a flat roof and was finished with an entablature and balustrade, while the new third storey had two plain windows with flat gauged-brick heads. The roof was a steeply pitched mansard and at its apex, at the north end, was a three-light dormer window.
Lord Guilford lived at No. 24 from 1816 to 1825. (fn. 14) The house was probably demolished towards the end of the nineteenth century, when the present building, of which only the shell remains, was built.
No. 25 St. James's Place
By 1699 a house was erected by Francis Parry on this site, the only part of the land leased to him in 1692 which he had retained. (fn. 14) It survived until 1748, when it was purchased and demolished by Mary, Lady Hervey, the widow of John, Lord Hervey. (fn. 128) Lady Hervey had lived at Ickworth Park with her father-in-law, the Earl of Bristol, since her husband's death, but in 1747 she bought the house in St. James's Place with the intention of providing herself with a home of her own. (fn. 129) She wrote to a friend ' 'twill be a very agreeable, but, I fear, a very dear one. I have certainly done by the first purchase and the building, what most people will call a very indiscreet thing; that is, I have laid out too much in that one thing, in proportion to my fortune; but it is for what I like better than any other expense whatever.' (fn. 130) Henry Flitcroft was the architect chosen by Lady Hervey to supervise the new house, the plan of which, she claimed, 'I have made entirely myself. Flitcroft was certainly not allowed a free hand, for Lady Hervey's 'convenience and taste' were paramount and the design was, on her own admission, 'contrary to all palladian rules'. (fn. 131)
By April 1748 the old house was 'a heap of ruins and dust' and Lady Hervey was busy with 'Mr. Flitcroft, angles, feet, Greystock bricks, cornice, fascias, copeings'. (fn. 132) Her aim was to make her dwelling 'look as like the country as I can', (fn. 133) and to raise out of the ruins of the old 'a Phoenix house, where you will often eat as plain a dinner, see as fine a prospect, and as beautiful a verdure as at Nursling' (her correspondent's home). (fn. 132)
For reasons of economy the house was not completed in one building, (fn. 132) but it was covered in by November 1748 (fn. 130) and the first stage—about twothirds of the house—finished in 1749. The 'great stairs', an ante-chamber to the 'great room' and a servants' room were left unbuilt. (fn. 134) Lady Hervey had rejected a bow window overlooking the park— a feature present in later years in most of the neighbouring houses—for 'instead of those windows which now afford me as fine a view as possible, I should have had but one window that would have looked towards Chelsea and the country: from one of the oblique windows I should have looked into Sir John Cope's room [her neighbour to the south] and have afforded him a view of mine: from the other I should have seen the Duke of Devonshire's house, when the dust of Piccadilly would have permitted it'. (fn. 134) Hogarth's painting of 1760 (fn. 60) apparently shows the Green Park elevation of this house as being four storeys high and four windows wide, the ground storey, like that of Nos. 22 and 23, having very small windows. There was a continued sill in each storey, and a bandcourse at floor level in the fourth storey, the wall being carried up to form a stone-coped parapet, behind which were four dormer windows set in a mansard roof.
Lady Hervey finished her house in 1759 (fn. 135) and continued to occupy it until her death in 1768. (fn. 136) She was succeeded by Frederick Howard, Earl of Carlisle, statesman, 1769–81; Robert Henley, Earl of Northington, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1781–6; and George Capel-Coningsby, Viscount Maiden, later Earl of Essex, 1787–1805. (fn. 137) Lord Maiden enlarged the house in 1795–6 by building additional rooms on the north side which were later adapted to form a separate dwelling (see No. 24 St. James's Place).
The Earl of Moira lived at No. 25 from 1806 to 1812, having moved there from No. 21. (fn. 14) After Lord Moira's departure Sir John Soane, acting with Benjamin Wyatt, valued the house, and the plan in the Soane Museum (fn. 126) (fig. 86) presumably represents the layout of the ground floor at some dale between 1812 and 1815. The main entrance from St. James's Place led into a square hall with a deep oblong room to the south, a service stair to the west, and the main staircase in a deep oblong compartment to the north. On the west side of the building, overlooking Green Park, were two more rooms, the southern approximately twice the width of the north one.
Sir Francis Burdett, politician, who occupied the house from 1816 to 1844, (fn. 29) had it renovated in 1830–1 at a cost of over £4000. The brick front was altered by the addition of compo to the ground storey and to the window reveals. (fn. 138) The house was destroyed in the war of 1939–45.
Encroachments on the Green Park
Between Park Place and Cleveland Row the eastern boundary of Green Park originally corresponded with the boundary of St. James's parish. Encroachment began soon after the formation of the park, and the original line was obscured by the westward advancement of the gardens of the houses overlooking the park and, in some cases, of the houses themselves. The line of the present boundary of the park was established at the end of the eighteenth century.
In 1691 Wren and William Talman surveyed a breach made in the wall of the park by Mr. Rossington and estimated that to repair it would cost £60, (fn. 139) A report of 1699 mentions, among other encroachments, 'two links . . . from Rossington's buildings [in Park Place and St. James's Place?] . . . and a pair of great gates that lets into Rossington's Buildings in St. James's'. (fn. 140) At about the same time Lady Herbert, who occupied a house on the site of No. 22 St. James's Place, (fn. 14) tore down the park wall for about twenty-one feet of its length and made a door with Steps leading down into the park at the back of her house. (fn. 141)
In the eighteenth century, tenants usually sought the Crown's licence for encroachments. In 1727 Sir Thomas Frankland received permission to advance the railing in front of No. 22, which he then occupied, four feet into the park, in line with the railing in front of No. 23, (fn. 142) By 1781 this slip of land had been widened to about twelve feet and extended in front of the site of No. 24 St. James's Place. The whole had been planted with shrubs and flowers. (fn. 143)
About the year 1730 the occupant of the house on the site of No. 21 St. James's Place built a bow window into the park (see page 535), although there is no evidence that he had a licence to do so. In 1745 Sir John Cope wished to build a bow window to his house on the site of No. 26 St. James's Place, and applied successfully to the Crown for permission. (fn. 144) In February 1747 his neighbour, Lady Hervey, obtained a licence to enclose a thirteen-foot-wide strip of the park for a terrace in front of the house later known as No. 25 St. James's Place. (fn. 145)
By 1769 all the houses on the west side of St. James's Place—including Spencer House (see page 518)—had gardens or terraces projecting into the park. In that year the Surveyor General tried to prevent an advancement of the building line in front of the houses further south near St. James's Palace, but he was unsuccessful (see page 507). The encroachments made by the Crown tenants were in themselves not unattractive and in the end it was the offices of the royal household, on the west side of Catherine Wheel Yard, which gave offence and spoilt the aspect of the park.
In 1795 Henry Holland, the architect acting for Lord Spencer, complained strongly that certain mean buildings on the south side of Spencer House were a great nuisance, and a disgrace to the royal park. He asked for a lease of the land on which they stood so that Lord Spencer might make a garden there. Lord Grenville, the Duke of Bridgwater and other occupants of houses overlooking the park, made similar representations. (fn. 146)
In his report the Surveyor General admitted that this part of the park was offensive. Many of the buildings to which Holland objected were used by the departments of the Lord Steward, the Lord Chamberlain and the Board of Works as stables or as sheds for storage of oil, charcoal, dust, ashes or fire engines. There was also, it seems, a very large heap of dust and rubbish lying directly under Lord Spencer's windows and people were constantly employed there in sifting it. (fn. 146) The Surveyor General considered that all the houses overlooking the park would benefit by allotments of the park land and he therefore drew up a plan showing his proposals for the demolition of the old sheds and the enclosure of appropriate pieces of land for gardens. (fn. 147) Negotiations between the Treasury and individual owners took some time but by 1798–9 the old sheds were demolished and leases of the gardens were granted to the various owners of the houses overlooking Green Park. (fn. 148) Since this date the boundary of this part of the park has remained unaltered.
Cleveland Court, St. James's Place
Nos. 35–38 St. James's Place are situated in the court on the south side of the street between Nos. 33 and 39. This court, formerly known as Cleveland or Little Cleveland Court, was laid out on part of the Pulteney estate (K on fig. 81) which abutted north on the freehold property of the Devisscher family. (fn. 149) 'Mr. Rossington' was responsible for the development of the site to the west and south of the court, (fn. 149) which was apparently built about 1689–94. (fn. 14) Six houses in the court were occupied by 1695 and six are shown on Horwood's map (Plate 6). The Crown lease of the houses on the west and south sides of the court was renewed in 1718 to John Kendrick and ceased to be part of the Pulteney estate. Some rebuilding may have taken place a few years later for in 1726 Edward Austin, bricklayer, advertised for letting 'A good House, in Little Cleaveland-Court, . . . consisting of Three Rooms on a Floor, and Light Closets, and very good Offices, Coach House, and Coachman's Room; and Stable for Four Horses.' (fn. 149) All the buildings now standing in the court are of nineteenth-century date; occupants of former houses included (Sir) Charles Whitworth, author and member of Parliament, 1745–50; George James ('Gilly') Williams, wit, 1774–1805. (fn. 28)