XXVIII.—No. 15 CHEYNE WALK.
Ground landlord, leaseholder, etc.
Ground landlord, Earl Cadogan. Leaseholder, Lord Courtney of Penwith.
General description and date of structure.
We now pass over the five houses between No. 6 and Manor Street, which
have been rebuilt upon the site of six or seven (fn. 1) houses of the same date as
those described above. Regarding the site of Nos. 13 and 14, immediately
west of Manor Street, a lease, dated 1717, between Sir Hans Sloane on the one
hand and John Witt and Jeremiah Gray on the other, declares it to be the fifth
piece of land eastward from the Manor House, which is useful in confirming the
evidence we already possess of the position of the latter. The plot is described
as having a frontage of 40 feet on Cheyne Walk, and is bounded on the east by
the newly-made Manor Street and on the west by land built upon by Joseph
Huddleston. Nos. 13 and 14, formerly one house, (fn. 2) and according to the
rate-books held by Jeremiah Gray 1718 to 1721, have been recently rebuilt as
two residences, and we therefore pass on to the house built by Huddleston,
namely, No. 15.
This house, at one time called Carlton House, bears a striking resemblance to No. 4 Cheyne Walk, both in its appearance and general arrangement.
The front elevation has four windows on each of the upper floors, the front
door is in the same relative position, and the same features are prominent, such
as the tall brick pilasters, the well-designed doorway, and the beautiful wroughtiron gates. The two plans seem to have been identical, with one important
exception:—No. 15 does not appear, in any of the early plans of Chelsea, to
have possessed the double "powder" room projection which is the characteristic
of No. 4. The plan of the latter is, however, very useful in helping us to
understand the changes in No. 15, the interior of which has been much rearranged.
The wrought-iron gate and railings are among the three best examples
of Chelsea ironwork. A reference to the measured drawing (Plate 65) will show
the delightful design of the panels both within and each side of the gate, and
also of the scroll work that crests the railing. All the ironwork over the gate is
new, the original work having long ago disappeared, but it will be seen that it
has been skilfully made up on exactly the lines of the two pieces of scroll-work
over the railing, being surmounted by a gilded dolphin (Lord Courtney's crest)
and having his monogram. The gates and railings stand between two
lofty brick piers with stone cornice and finials, the proportions of which, no
doubt, belong properly to the gates of the adjoining Queen's House, since there
are only three piers, and these of similar design, for the two houses. The doorway is simply treated, two fluted pilasters supporting a plain entablature with
eight triglyphs, and opens into a square hall precisely on the plan of No. 4.
The stair is quite similar in its general lines, but there is a noticeable difference
in the details: the brackets beneath the end of the
treads are here finely carved, but instead of twisted
balusters the designer has adhered to the plainer
type shown in the illustrations of the stair at
No. 3 (Plate 32), and there are only two balusters to
each tread. The cornice above the stair is carved.
Bearing in mind the plan of No. 4, we will
now examine briefly the rest of the house. The first
room on the ground floor occupies the old front
room and half the long apartment which originally
stretched right across the back of the house. Out
of this opens the powder room, which has been
somewhat altered. A second door from the end
of the hall leads into a large dining-room, formed
out of the other half of the long back room together with an extensive addition of the same width
projecting into the garden. On the second floor
the arrangement is similar, the drawing-room occupying the space immediately above the former
of the rooms just described and partly over the hall,
showing the powder room opening from it. The
back room, however, is not extended over the new
portion of the dining-room but stops short at the
original wall. This little room retains its panelling and cornice. The front part of the drawingroom has an enriched cornice with modillions,
very much like the later houses in Cheyne Walk,
which were built in 1760. The architraves of the
doors and the panels of the window shutters are
also enriched with carving. The back part of the
room has, however, a plain cornice, and a beam
across the ceiling gives the line of the original partition. The main stair stops
at the first floor and the second floor is gained by the smaller staircase as in No. 4.
Here, in the bedrooms, the walls have been papered on canvas stretched over
the panelling, except in the two front rooms, which show their early character.
Beyond a few signs here and there, however, of the real age of the house the
walls and their decoration have been quite modernised.
No. 15 Cheyne Walk, Detail of Ironwork in Gate.
Photo By A. P. Wire
Condition of repair.
The house is in very good repair.
The first tenant of this house was Captain, afterwards Admiral Sir John Balchen, who after
having served in the West Indies and off the Spanish coast, and being captured by the French
in 1708 and again in 1709, accompanied Sir George Byng to the Mediterranean in 1718, the
year before he took his Chelsea house. Made Rear-Admiral 1728, Vice-Admiral 1734, and
Admiral of the White 1743; he was knighted 1744, and in the same year went down with
his ship, the "Victory," in the Channel. His home was at No. 15 until 1742 with the
exception of the years 1724 and 1725–1728, when he seems to have sublet it respectively to
Captain Reginald and Captain Leonard Wynn. (fn. 3) Sir John Balchen was followed by Commodore, afterwards Vice-Admiral Temple West, who married a daughter of his predecessor.
His name is associated with two failures. In the action off Toulon, February 11th, 1743–4,
he commanded the sixty-gun ship "Warwick," which was one of the ships forming the
head of the English line, and kept aloof from the French, merely firing on them from a
distance. For this he was tried and cashiered, but reinstated by order of Council, May
12th, 1746. In the action off Minorca in 1756 he was second in command to Admiral
John Byng, who was defeated, and in consequence condemned to death by court-martial and
shot for alleged neglect of duty. Temple West was superseded, but no blame could be laid
at his door. He was afterwards promoted to be Vice-Admiral. He left Cheyne Walk in
1755, two years before his death.
The following names then occur in the rate-books:—
|1765–1779.||Thomas Kynaston. (fn. 4) |
Henry Thomas Ryall (1811–1867), engraver, lived here (Ascroft MSS.). Mr. Beaver
tells us in his Memorials of Old Chelsea that No. 15 was tenanted in 1869 by Mr. William
Lawson, a Scottish portrait painter. Two sons, Malcolm Lawson and F. W. Lawson,
followed respectively the professions of music and painting, the third, Cecil G. Lawson,
became an artist of greater repute, and his work is closely associated with Chelsea. His
first appearance at the Royal Academy was in 1870, when his "Cheyne Walk, Chelsea,"
a view taken from a window of his father's house, was hung "on the line." He also
exhibited in 1871 "A Summer Evening at Cheyne Walk," and in 1877 "A View
from Don Saltero's in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, temp. 1777." He married in 1879
Constance, daughter of John Birnie Philip the sculptor, whose sister, after being married
to E. W. Godwin, became the wife of J. M. Whistler.
Thomas Faulkner, Chelsea and its Environs (2nd edition, 1829).
Alfred Beaver, Memorials of Old Chelsea (1892).
Reginald Blunt, Handbook to Chelsea (1900).
Dictionary of National Biography (Admiral Sir John Balchen, Admiral Temple West,
Henry Thomas Ryall, Cecil Gordon Lawson).
In the committee's ms. collection are—
|3232.||General view from Cheyne Walk (photograph).|
|3233.|| (fn. 5) Another view (photograph).|
|3234.|| (fn. 5) Wrought-iron gate and railings (measured drawing).|
|3235.|| (fn. 5) Detail, centre panel, wrought-iron gate (photograph).|
|3236.|| (fn. 5) Front doorway (photograph).|
|3237.||Front doorway (measured drawing).|
|3239.||Drawing-room, general view (photograph).|
|3240.||Drawing-room, another view (photograph).|
|3241.||Drawing-room chimney-piece (photograph).|