Next, some Mayfair businesses.
I could wander Mayfair for days, weeks, even months...so here are a few more places I've enjoyed over the years. In my previous post, we moved from houses through squares to a famous church St. George's Hanover Square, which brings us back to houses again, as we visit one of St.George's most famous parishioners, George Frederick Handel.
Above, L, the exterior of 25 Brook Street, the Handel House Museum; R, interior. These are official pictures from the Handel House Museum website. I took pictures on the premises but they have disappeared into cyberspace.... The Brook Street ground floor is devoted to a shop and the museum is accessed from the rear, by way of an elevator. It is a very creative use of the building in a lively commercial area while commemorating one of London's most illustrious immigrants. Below, L. another illustrious London former resident, Beau Brummell, lived here at #4 Chesterfield Street; later it was also the home of British P.M. Anthony Eden, Lord Avon (1897-1977) R, #22 Charles Street, once the home of HRH Prince William, Duke of Clarence, later King William IV who reigned from 1830-37.
Above, two views of the house at #2 Davies Street, just off Berkeley Square, now the home of Dunhill & Co. and a little courtyard cafe. It is known as Bourdon House and once was the home of the Duke of Westminster. Now it houses a tailor, barber, spa and other men's services. Below, R, #34 Charles Street, now the Hotel Chesterfield, was once the home of the Earl of Tankerville and after the Battle of Waterloo, of Major James Cunningham, one of those most responsible for the crucial act of closing the gates of the Chateau Hougoumont as the French tried to battle their way inside. The other two houses that are enfolded into the hotel are #35 and #36 Charles Street, the latter home of the dowager Countess of Carnarvon, once a resident of Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey). Left, below, Brown's Hotel, Albemarle Street, also created from a row of townhouses, famous for their afternoon teas.
Above, L, #9 Grosvenor Square, the house that John Adams occupied as the first American minister to Great Britain 1785-1788. He was later the 2nd President of the United States. On the right, a plaque on the house explaining its history, icluidng the information that Abigail and John's daughter, also named Abigail, was married here to Colonel William Stephens Smith of the legation staff, formerly an officer with Washington's army. Below, three "period" buildings on the west side of Berkeley Square, among only a handful of originals left: #44 Berkeley Square, built in 1742 by William Kent and now the home of the club Annabel's; #45 and #46 were built 1744-50; #45 was one the home of Clive of India (1725-1774).
Above, L, Burlington House in 1707; Middle: Burlington House in 2011 showing a temporary sculpture in the forecourt; Burlington House, showing the permanent statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the forecourt. Burlington House has been remodeled, reconfigured and renovated numerous times over the centuries. As the home of the Royal Academy of Arts, it has been converted to galleries, offices, storage, and is almost constantly being modernized. The side buildings are the homes of several learned societies. Below, several views of the restored John Madjeski Fine Rooms, now looking much as they did in the 18th C, an enfilade of galleries and meeting rooms that please the eye for their noble proportions and tasteful decor. L, General Assembly Room; M, Saloon; R, looking through the enfilade.
Above, three views of The Albany, a posh set of chambers for gentlemen, back in the day. It is located just east of Burlington House in Piccadilly. On the other side of Burlington House is the Burlington Arcade, below. Presided over by a Beadle who welcomes you and patrols the premises as well, the covered walk of luxury shops has been here since 1829. Always good for window-shopping and hard on the purse.
Above left and middle, two views of 95 Piccadilly, which is probably the last private mansion of the many that once lined the north side of Piccadilly. The house was originally built in 1756-61, by Lord Egremont, and was the residence later of Marquess of Cholmondeley, the Duke of Cambridge, and Lord Palmerston (1784-1865) while he was Prime Minister. The view on right is a drawing from 1854, when the Palmerstons were entertaining frequently in order to facilitate government business. After Lord Palmerston's death, the house was sold to the Naval and Military Club, often better known as the In and Out Club due to the markings on the driveway posts. The Club moved to St. James Square in 1996. Since then, various schemes for renovating and adapting the building have been floated and usually floundered. As a Grade I Listed building, the amount of adaptation allowed is minimal. That last I heard, it was being turned into a palatial private residence, probably the most expensive house in London if the plans are fulfilled.
Next, some Mayfair businesses.
In the summer of 2014, Berkeley Square was graced by this colorful glass sculpture, The Sun, by Dale Chihuly. Chihuly studied at the University of Wisconsin with Harvey Littleton and has gained widespread international fame. Below, l to r: close-up of The Sun; Lemon/Red Crown, 1989, by Harvey K. Littleton (1922-2013), Milwaukee Art Museum (Littleton founded the Studio Glass program at UW where Chihuly studied); Chihuly at the Milwaukee Art Museum accompanied by my grandson.
London's Mayfair, in the City of Westminster, is bounded by Regent Street on the east, Oxford Street on the north, Park Lane on the west, and Piccadilly on the south. In the 18th century, much of this area was being developed from agricultural fields, pastures, and hamlets into a prime residential neighborhood for the aristocracy and gentry. By the late 20th century, sadly, Mayfair was no longer mostly residential. Most of the great townhouses were gone, replaced by hotels and condos, or converted to business headquarters with posh addresses. Nevertheless, it is full of fascination for those of us who revere British history, architecture, and commerce. Below, one of the last remaining townhouses, Crewe House in Curzon St, now the Embassy of Saudi Arabia.
Many years ago, Mayfair boasted many of these fine house with gardens front and/or back. Part of one of the grandest is now the Lansdowne Club, just off Berkeley Square. Devonshire House stood on Piccadilly with gardens behind backing up into Lansdowne's gardens so that one had a clear view from Devonshire House to Berkeley Square. Below, Devonshire House photographed in 1896; Lansdowne House as originally built; Lansdowne Club today.
Above, blue plaques on the Lansdowne Club, the former home of the Earl of Shelburne (later Marquess of Lansdowne) and Mr. Selfridge, founder of the great Oxford St. Department Store, who lived here and entertained lavishly as seen on the British drama series), and The Adam Room in the Lansdowne Club. When Lansdowne House was partially demolished in the 1930's, the Dining Room was take to New York where it can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, below, left. On the right, the original Adam Drawing Room with Pompeiian decoration, now to be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Berkeley Square is one of three large squares within Mayfair. Above. two images of Grosvenor Square, the largest and the farthest north and west. On the right, a statue of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Grosvenor Square has long been associated with the U.S. diplomatic mission to Britain. Though just a few buildings remain in their relatively original condition, most have been demolished or dramatically altered. Sadly, the U.S Embassy, on the north side of the square is the most egregious example of wholesale destruction, but it will soon be no longer the U.S. Embassy. A new Chancery building is under construction in the Nine Elms District in the South Bank Industrial Zone of London. The Grosvenor Square monstrosity has been purchased by the Quatari government. Below, the current U.S. Embassy, left. ON the right a drawing of the new building, to be occupied in 2017, designed by the American architectural firm of Kieran Timberlake.
Above L, Statue of Sir William Pitt the Younger, (1759-1806), Prime Minister of Great Britain, in Hanover Square; R. a long snaking line of persons waiting to get into the Apple Store on Regent Street, near Hanover Square, hoping to snag the newest gadget in September, 2014. Below, L, the exterior of St. George's, Hanover Square, completed in 1725 by architect John James, the parish church of many prominent persons including George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) and scene of many aristocratic marriages; R, the Last Supper by William Kent (1684-1758) surrounded by carvings executed by a pupil of Grinling Gibbons.The interior was redecorated with some stained glass and other features in the Victoria era.
More Mayfair Wandering next time!
Osterley Park is managed by the National Trust and a very good job they do! I had visited the estate several years ago, and this time I was excited to learn that we could take pictures INSIDE. So, prepare yourselves for a set of interior shots of many rooms.
The approach to the house is suitably dramatic, viewing across a pond laced with water lilies in full bloom. Queen Elizabeth I visited the first manor house here after its completion in 1676. Thomas Gresham, a wealthy banker, built the house, Another wealthy banker, Sir Francis Child, hired Robert Adam to remodel it in 1761, and the current look - both inside and out - is very much that of the Adam period in all its glory. Adam had one section of the square house replaced with handsome Georgian columns, framing an open courtyard. The great house and estate passed down in the line of the Child banking family.
Left in place were the corner Tudor Caps, typical of Elizabethan and earlier Tudor architecture, and evidence of much-admired longevity.
The Entrance Hall is sublimely restrained and entirely elegant.
The 5th Earl of Jersey (1773-1859) became the owner by way of his marriage to Robert’s granddaughter, Sarah Sophia Fane, the Lady Jersey (2) who was a patroness of Almack’s. The story of the young heiress is well known. Robert Child’s daughter eloped with John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland. Robert Child (1739-82), not wanting his property and fortune to go to the Westmorland family, left everything to the second child of his daughter. Sarah Sophia Fane inherited everything at age eight. In 1804, she married George Villiers, who changed his name (a necessity under Child’s will) to Child-Villiers and in time became the 5th Earl of Jersey. He was the son of the Countess of Jersey who was a mistress of the Prince Regent.
Above, left: Frances Twysden Villiers, Lady Jersey (1753-1821); right: Lady Sarah Sophia Fane Villiers, Lady Jersey (1795-1867). Below, Left: The Eating Room; right: Among the fabulous details
After the 7th earl died in 1915, the tenancy of the house foundered again. For many years, it was used only on occasional weekends until the 9th earl opened it to the public on weekends. He gave it to the National Trust in 1949 and considerable restoration has taken place, and continues in some rooms and in the servant's quarters, kitchens, and storerooms in the basement. Below, two views of the Gallery.
The Tapestry Room, above, was designed to hold a set of magnificent Gobelins tapestries designed by Francois Boucher depicting the Loves of the Gods. Several Adam rooms for other clients were decorated similarly, with the tapestries ordered from the Gobelins factory in Paris, which was run in the 1770’s by a Scot. The sofa and eight armchairs were created and upholstered to match the tapestries. Below, the Eruscan Dressing Room, right, and left, and its ceiling.
Above, left: a first-floor room under renovation; right, Chinese lacquer-ware pieces waiting for reinstallation. Belowl\, sections of the kitchens and storerooms.
Left, above, the Stables with gift shop and tearoom; right, from the Farm Shop. Below, a few friends we encountered on the grounds.
Guardsman outside St James's Palace, built by Henry VIII, and still the official British Court of St.James's. It is the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen, but wherever she is living becomse the official Court for the time being. However, Ambssadors to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are accredited to the Court of St. James;s, even though the ceremonies usually take place at Buckingham Palace. St. James's Palace houses many Crown offices, the Chapel Royal, some apartments for various members of the Royal Family, and reception rooms.
L to R: Friary Court; Palace and Grounds in early 18th C. by Johannes Kip; Cherry Seller outside the Palace, 1804.
Though St. James's is small in area, it is the most exclusive area of London for residences and businesses. Few residences remain, but there are many protected from demolition by their historic status.
Above, Spencer House, from Green Park. Below, L to R, Nexst to the entrance of Spencer House in St James's Place is the former residence of William Huskisson (1770-1830), government minister, and first man killed by being run over by a steam locomotive; Entrance of Spencer House in St. James's Place; Also in St. James;s Place, one of the London residences of Sir Winston Churchill.
Marlborough House, facing the Mall, was built by Sir Christopher Wren for the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, finished in 1711. It has also been the home of some members of the royal family, particularly the Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Their "Marlborough House Set" included the most prominent of the aristocracy and society leaders of the late Victorian period. Today, it houses the Commonwealth Offices.
Below: Memorial to Queen Alexandra on Marlborough Rd. the adjacent Queen;s Chapel built by Inigo Jones for Catholic Queen Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) in 1625; Lancaster House, built for the Duke of York and Albany in 1825, a neo-classical structure now used for receptions and special events, and was the setting of Downton Abbey's scenes of Lady Rose's presentation to the King and Queen, just one of many uses in films, as a stand-in for Buckingham Palace.
When I left Paris, I kissed my hubby good-by and watched him leave for home. I was headed for London to meet up with my "other" blog partner, Kristine Hughes. Before the tour group gathered, Kristine and I had a few days of free time in London and we packed the days with activity. On Sunday, the low tide tempted us to try a bit of mudlarking on the Thames bank.
It was amusing and we found lots of stuff, aka treasures.
Later, as we trekked about, we found the Duke of Wellington EVERYWHERE! We visited the church of St. James's Piccadilly, and got a good look at the Grinling Gibbons carvings.
Above, the British Museum (2010 pic), where I had some research to do in the Print Room. That accomplished, we returned to St James's.
Walking Jermyn Street, St. James's: Floris Perfumers, cheeses at Paxton & Whitfield
Some neighborhood St. James's pubs: Chequers, Three Crowns; The Red Lion
St. James's, among other things, is Clubland. Top, L to R, Brooks's, White's, Boodle's, all in St. James's Street. Bottom: Army and Navy Club, St. James's Square; Atheneum, Pall Mall; East India Club, St. James's Square.
St. James's is also known for its exclusive shopping and fine restaurants.
Berry Bros.& Rudd Wine Merchants, Fortnum & Mason; Truefitt & Hill; Hatchards Book Shop, Lock & Co Hatters, O'Shea Gallery
More St James next time!!
How lucky can you get, I ask myself every time I think about the five weeks I spent in France and England in August and September, 2014. The glow will stay with me for a long time—and it all started with months of planning, of course, also among my favorite activities.
The Duke of Wellington Tour
My blogging partner, Kristine Hughes, and I planned to lead a Duke of Wellington Tour in September. Read all about it in our Number One London blog.
(see http://onelondonone.blogspot.com). We worked with several travel agents to secure the bookings and actually scheduled the trip so that we could visit Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed. Highclere is just a few miles from Wellington’s country home, and the Duke and the Earl of Cararvon sat side by side in the House of Lords in the early 19th century, so there was a connection. We knew Highclere would be a good draw for potential tour-goers.
Before leading our tour group, we spent a week in London visiting some wonderful places and simply enjoying our favorite city.
Our first major stop was at Kenwood House, recently renovated, on Hampstead Heath.
After we rested and ate, we bussed across the Heath to visit Highgate Cemetery, a Victorian treasure, still in use for burials today.
Lots more to come, soon. I am enjoying reliving every minute as I assemble these posts. Many thanks for sticking with it!!
We left Paris and sailed north on the Seine, leaving behind the Eiffel Tower and the model of the Statue of Liberty near which we were docked
.A favorite stop on the Seine Cruise was our return to Giverny, Monet's Garden near the picturesque town of Vernon, Normandy. The last time we were at Giverny, it was early summer; the late summer garden was equally beautiful.
From tip of this series: Monet's House and Garden, the House, the Waterlily Pond and Japanese Bridge; still many roses in bloom; also lots of dahlias and late summer flowers; Below, views in Vernon.
Two of my lifelong ambitions were fulfilled on the day we visited the Bayeux Tapestry and the D-Day Landing Beaches.
We spent time in the lovely city of Rouen, where there is a spectacular light show on the face of the famous cathedral in the evening.
Au revoir, France. On to England.
In addition to visiting Josephine Bonaparte's estate at Malmaison, we took in several small Paris museums. The city was crowded and even though I would love to have gone back to the Louvre and the Musee D'Orsay, Paris has many wonderful small museums we concentrated on...Rodin, Cluny, Delacroix, to name a few.
Above, from the top: the garden at the Rodin Museum with The Thinker, the Roman Baths excavated at the Medieval Museum (Cluny), the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cluny, the studio from the garden of the Delacroix Museum.
As we walked around Paris, we took in many famous sights. Above, Church of St. Germain des Pres, Notre Dame and the Seine, Place de la Republique, Grand Arche de la Defense, Hotel des Invalides.
More dramatic sights, from the top: Church of la Madeleine, Arc de Triomphe, Palais Garnier (l'Opera). We soon embarked on our cruise up the Seine, pictures coming soon.
Josephine purchased the chateau (built in the 17th Century) in 1799 and used it as her retreat from the rigors of life as the eventual Empress of France in the Tuileries Palace. In this charming country house, she could cultivate her roses and enjoy peaceful solitude or host intimate soirees and picnics with chosen guests.
Josephine in 1806, by Henri-Francois Riesener
Josephine was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, June 23, 1763, named Marie-Joseph-Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie. She grew up among the sugar plantation society on the island At age seventeen, she went to Paris for an arranged marriage to Count Alexandre de Beauharnais. With him she had two children, a son, Eugene de Beauharnais (1781-1824) and a daughter, Hortense (1783-1837). Imprisoned during the Revolution, the Count was guillotined in 1794, but Josephine was released.
When she met the young officer Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), he fell madly in love with her. Until he renamed her Josephine, she was known as Rose. They married in 1796. In December 1804, in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor and Josephine Empress of France, in the presence of the Court and the Pope.
The Music Room
Unable to bear any more children, Josephine reluctantly agreed to separation and divorce. In December 1809, she moved permanently to Malmaison.
The Dining Room
Napoleon married Marie Louise, daughter of Austrian Emperor Francis I, and a year later, in 1811, his only legitimate child was born. He was named Napoleon, designated the King of Rome. [This unfortunate young man, so greatly anticipated, died in his early 20’s.]
La Salle du Conseil (Council Room)
Napoleon, though not always faithful to Josephine, remained attached to her for the rest of his life, even through his divorce and re-marriage. After her death and before his final exile to St. Helena, Napoleon returned to Malmaison for a farewell visit.
La Bibliothéque (The Library)
By her first husband, Josephine was the grandmother of Napoleon III, son of her daughter. She is also an ancestress of numerous European Royals.
So far, all my pictures were taken in rooms on the ground floor of the house, all with doors opening into the gardens. Upstairs were the private chambers of Napoleon and Josephine each with their own apartments, i.e. suites of rooms.
The Emperor's Bedchamber
Napoleon's Shaving Stand
The couple's rooms are divided by a treasury of art and artifacts they acquired.
The Empress's Dressing Table
The Empress's bedchamber
After Josephine’s death, son Eugene lived at Malmaison; later it was sold several times before being presented as a gift to the nation of France by Daniel Iffla (known as Osiris), art enthusiast and philanthropist, whose collections can be seen in a small museum on the chateau’s grounds.
The beautiful gardens are full of the roses Josephine nurtured.