XL—No. 14 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE: (Formerly No. 7 Park Street).
Ground Landlord, Etc.
The freehold is the property of Christ's Hospital. The premises are
occupied by the Association of British Chambers of Commerce.
It is not definitely known who designed this house and No. 16 adjoining, but in the Soane Museum there is a sketch plan by Robert Adam for
a house to be erected partly on this site for Charles Townley. The house
does not, however, accord with the sketch plans, and it is quite possible
that Adam was not the architect employed, although there are some decorative
features characteristic of his work.
The exterior consists of a plain brick front of four storeys over a basement. The lower portion is stuccoed, a treatment probably carried out at
a later date than the erection of the house.
The rear of the premises is similar to No. 16.
Console to mantelpiece.
The plan generally corresponds with
that of No. 16, with the break in the party
wall which has already been noticed.
The dining-room on the ground floor
overlooking the Park is the finest room in
the house (Plate 92). The walls are decorated with a series of porphyry scagliola
columns, which have Ionic capitals containing masks and floral volutes (Plate 93),
while the bases are of statuary marble.
On each side of the mantelpiece are semicircular niches with enriched heads, which
no doubt originally contained statuary from
Townley's famous collection. The wood
mantelpiece has carved consoles to the jambs
supporting large goat's heads, terminating a
fluted frieze which contains a centre tablet.
The ornamental plaster ceiling is good,
and typical of the "Adam" period, while
the frieze is decorated with emblematical
musical instruments between swags suspended from lion's heads beneath the
modillions to the cornice (Plate 93).
The staircases in construction and arrangement are similar to those
in No. 16, with the exception that the ground-floor space formerly occupied
by the main basement stairs has been floored over and another staircase
The gallery on the first floor forms the subject of the painting by
Zoffany referred to below. The lantern-light which is shown in this picture
remains the same to-day, but the chimney breast has been altered and the
opposite wall pierced by openings with semicircular heads.
The front room on this floor has an ornamental plaster ceiling (Plate 94),
with panels painted in the style of Angelica Kauffmann. The ceiling of the
back room has floral scrolls, lamps, and small medallions containing female
figures (Plate 95). These medallions are similar to those which decorated
the ceiling of the staircase at No. 29 Great George Street (see Plate 54). The
marble mantelpiece to this room has inlaid flutes in giallo antico on white,
with a sleeping Cupid as the subject of the centre panel.
Condition of Repair.
According to the ratebooks, the occupiers of this house up to 1840 were as follows:—
|1806–07||Ed. Townley Standish.|
Charles Townley was born in 1737. From about 1758 to 1765 he lived the life of
a country gentleman on his Lancashire estate, but a visit to Italy led him to study ancient art.
Until 1772 his headquarters were at Rome. During this period he formed the nucleus of his
valuable collection of antiquities, and on coming to London looked round for a house in
which he could accommodate them. On 24th December, 1777, he purchased (fn. 1) from Michael
Barrett the remainder of the 61 years' lease (from Lady Day, 1776) of a house on the north
side of Park Street " being the seventh house from Queen Square." In 1786 he became
a member of the Society of Dilettanti and in 1791 a trustee of the British Museum. He
died at the house in Park Street on 3rd January, 1805. (fn. 2)
Townley's Sunday dinners " principally for professors of the Arts, when Sir Joshua
"Reynolds and Zoffany generally enlivened the circle," were famous. A picture painted by
Zoffany about 1782 shows Townley in his library, sitting among the spoils which he had
gathered, with one of Captain Cook's sledge-dogs at his feet, conversing with his friends
D'Hancarville (most of whose Récherches sur L'Origine des Arts de la Gréce was written in
this house), Charles Greville and Thomas Astle.
Townley was liberal in admitting strangers to view his collections, and "the servants
had directions to exhibit [them] to all individuals of respectability who desired to see them." (fn. 2)
With but slight exceptions they were all acquired from Townley's executors by the British
The lease of the house passed to his surviving brother, Edward Townley Standish, and
afterwards to his uncle John Townley, both of whom are shown in the ratebooks as in
In the Council's Collection are:—
(fn. 3) General exterior of premises (photograph).
(fn. 3) General view of dining-room (photograph).
(fn. 3) Detail of Ionic cap, architrave and cornice to ditto (photograph).
Detail of plaster ceiling to ditto (photograph).
Wood mantelpiece to dining-room (photograph).
General view of staircase (photograph).
(fn. 3) Decorated ceiling to front room on first floor (photograph).
(fn. 3) Decorated ceiling to back room on first floor (photograph).
Lobby on first-floor landing (photograph).
Mantelpiece to front room on first floor (photograph).
Mantelpiece to back room on first floor (photograph).
(fn. 3) Ground and first-floor plans (measured drawings).