Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Searching for Regency London

by Ann Lethbridge


One of my most interesting visits this summer was to Fenton House in Hampstead.

Pictured first is the South Front, which faces down Holly Hill (a particularly steep hill I might add)

In the regency period, Hampstead was a small city separate from London and a place where the middle class professionals lived, rather than the fashionable, though the Heath itself drew many visitors. The village and the heath sits high on a hill overlooking London and at one time could be seen as wooded hills behind the city from the other side of the river.

Fenton House has remained remarkably untouched since it was built in 1756, being a substantial brick house with extensive gardens of fruit trees and kitchen gardens enclosed in a brick wall.

Today much of the house is given over to collections of pictures and musical instruments which are interesting. My main interest however was with the house itself. The way it would have been lived in.

Various parts of the house has been altered over the years, but still it retains much of its original structure.

The entrance hall shown here, with the service stairs behind which can be shut off by a door is a far more modest area that we see in the grand houses we have visited. The frieze around the ceiling dates from about 1810.

The long case clock you can see dates from 1700.


Here is a closer look at the frieze:


Moving into the dining room we can see that it was once divided into two rooms, a dining room and a drawing room.



The chairs at the table are 18th century mahogany. The harpsicord off in what was a drawing room is a Shudi and Broadwood from 1770. One of the earliest with the Broadwood name.








These lyre back chair are Regency and there is also a winecooler in the shape of a classical sarcophagus tucked under the sideboard which is also Regency.








The alcove, part of what was the drawing room which clearly goes into one of the protrusions you can see on the outside of the house contains one of the very popular Broadwood Square pianos, this one from 1774





Sadly this is all we have time for today. But lots more next time. Until then, happy rambles.