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39 and 39a Brook Sreet and 22 Avery Row

A Grade II* Listed Building in West End, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5128 / 51°30'46"N

Longitude: -0.1466 / 0°8'47"W

OS Eastings: 528706

OS Northings: 180952

OS Grid: TQ287809

Mapcode National: GBR CC.7V

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.D7VL

Entry Name: 39 and 39a Brook Sreet and 22 Avery Row

Listing Date: 9 January 1970

Last Amended: 26 February 2013

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1219871

English Heritage Legacy ID: 208858

Location: Westminster, London, W1K

County: London

District: City of Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: West End

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St George, Hanover Square

Church of England Diocese: London

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Summary

House, now offices and showrooms. Built 1720-3 by Thomas Phillips, master carpenter; later C18 alterations; remodelled and extended 1821-3 by Jeffry Wyatt, later Sir Jeffry Wyatville, as his house and office. Ground floor converted to shop 1926. Alterations of 1958 by RJ Page for Nancy Lancaster.

Description


MATERIALS: brick; street elevations faced in stucco; slate roofs.

PLAN: this is a complex and accretive building, comprising the remodelled C18 house to the north, a two-storey link to the south-east, and a two-storey wing aligned north-south containing showrooms to the ground floor and the Gallery to the first, with stair in north-west angle. The house comprises a series of rooms of unequal proportions around a central open-well stair. At ground floor the entrance hall and front rooms now form a single reception area. Above this level, the room plan is largely as existed in 1823.

EXTERIOR: the house is three storeys high above basement, plus an attic storey above a moulded cornice. Three windows to Brook Street (including curved bay) framed in panelled pilasters; curved bay surmounted by shallow leaded dome. One bay in re-entrant angle with ground-floor window converted to entrance; one bay to Avery Row. Sash windows with slender glazing bars. Shop front of 1927 has Ionic columns to curved entrance. Elevation to link block in Avery Row has pilastered shop front of 1926 with Gothick intersecting glazing bars and a first-floor Diocletian window. The single-storey entrance to No. 22A has a panelled door and Georgian-style fanlight. The elevation of the Gallery has been obscured by infill at ground-floor level and is blind above. The house’s garden elevation is of later C18 appearance: three storeys and five bays with a mansard attic, built in yellow stock brick with gauged brick window arches, a stuccoed cornice and parapet roof. The ground floor is stuccoed with triple sash windows to the left, which probably date from Wyatt’s remodelling; glazed timber canted porch added in 1906. Six-over-six pane sashes, some replaced. The stuccoed elevation to the gallery wing is irregular and has a shallow ground-floor extension with a oeil-de-boeuf window, probably early C20. Off-centre pilastered bay surmounted by Coade Stone urns (one is replicated). Row of casements to ground floor of end bay; tall sash window to first-floor gallery; moulded stucco cornice and parapet roof.

INTERIOR: handsome open-string stair of 1720-3 with curtail, column newels, ramped mahogany handrail and three balusters per step in alternating twisted, spiral and columnar patterns. Ground to first-floor flights have ramped inner string with raised and fielded panelling, and foliate carving to tread-ends. Remnants of panelling also to stairwell passage. The octagonal stair lantern, added by Wyatt, is raised above a glazed pilastered wall enclosing a gallery; this has a Carolean-style coved plaster frieze.
The ground-floor front room has a chimneypiece with a white marble surround and Siena marble slips, of 1770s appearance. The rear south-west room, reworked by Wyatt, has a very shallow segmental vaulted ceiling with a banded ceiling border and chimneypiece with Ionic columns. The rear SE room has a distinctive neo-classical chimneypiece with slender cast-iron columns. The first-floor SW room ceiling has a segmental vault and banded ceiling border inset with anthemion decoration; the white marble chimneypiece with yellow Siena marble slips and side consoles is of 1770s appearance; the cast-iron grate is early-C19. The first-floor front room has panelled window architraves, coved cornice and a niche mirroring the curved window bay opposite, above this is a panel inset with an oil painting depicting mythological figures with musical instruments. The second-floor rear rooms have matching 1770s chimneypieces with timber surrounds and marble slips. The full-height plain panelling of these rooms, while typical of an earlier C18 date, forms a cohesive scheme with the chimneypieces and is probably contemporary. The house retains a number of fittings dating from the C18 and early C19 including moulded skirtings, dados, architraves and panelled shutters; there are some cupboards and panelled doors at upper levels, alongside modern fittings which are generally of sympathetic design.

The first-floor ante-room to the Gallery, decorated by Fowler and Lancaster, is painted in a deep terracotta with swagged decoration; the walls and built-in cupboards are lined with late-C18 Italian oil paintings depicting classical and historical scenes, said to have been acquired by the firm for their frames. The Gallery (the Yellow Room) has panelled double doors to either end with reeded architraves and paterae ornament. The segmental barrel vaulted ceiling is decorated with banded panels with paterae to intersections, reminiscent of Wyatt’s music room at Bretton Hall, Yorkshire (1815). The painted decoration to the tympana, mirror-glass in the blind arches of the door surrounds and marbled skirtings date from the Fowler/Lancaster redecoration of 1958. A niche on the east wall, originally containing a stove, has an imported C18 marble chimneypiece with eared surround. The entrance hall formed in 1958 to serve Nancy Lancaster's apartment (No. 22 Avery Row) has arches flanked by Corinthian columns.

History

No. 39 (originally No. 49) Brook Street was built in 1720-3 by Thomas Phillips, a master carpenter who acquired the land from the Grosvenor Estate on a 60-year lease. It was the first of a terrace of 10 houses developed between 1720-5. The building plot is at the oblique junction of Brook Street and Avery Row, dictating an unconventional floor plan. It appears that alterations took place in the later C18, possibly including the rebuilding of the rear wall. A two-storey extension had been added to the south-east by 1813.

In 1802 Jeffry Wyatt (1766-1840), nephew of the eminent architects Samuel and James Wyatt, acquired the lease of No. 39 as his family home and office, having previously occupied a small house in Avery Row. Wyatt had formed a partnership in 1799 with John Armstrong, carpenter, whose yard occupied the triangular plot of land behind No. 39. Armstrong died in 1803, after which Wyatt continued the carpentry business for some 21 years, by which time he had gained pre-eminence in country house design and received his most important commission, the remodelling of Windsor Castle for King George IV. He changed his surname to Wyatville in 1824 and received a knighthood in 1828.

Wyatt had undertaken alterations to No. 39 following his occupation in 1802, but by 1821 it had suffered from considerable subsidence damage and between March 1821-June 1823 he substantially remodelled and extended the house in the neo-classical style. The street elevations were stuccoed, possibly rebuilt, the attic raised, a full-height bow added to the corner, which contained a circular entrance hall. A wing was added to the south-east, probably incorporating the existing extension, comprising drawing offices on the ground floor and a gallery above used as a clients’ reception room. Wyatville lived at No. 39 until his death in 1840, as commemorated by a Blue Plaque; his daughter Emily Knapp lived there until 1876. The ground floor was converted into an antiques shop in 1926. In 1944 John Fowler (1906-77) purchased the lease of 39 Brook Street as the premises Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler Ltd, the foremost English decorating firm of the C20. Part of the ground floor was sublet to Barclays Bank from 1957-63 when Wyatt's circular entrance hall was destroyed. In 1958 a separate apartment, No. 22 Avery Row, was created for the American-born interior designer Nancy Lancaster (1897-1994), who had acquired Colefax’s share of the business in 1944 and collaborated closely with Fowler in developing the firm's highly influential 'English Country House style'. She and Fowler created the ‘yellow room’ in Wyatt’s gallery which became one of Mayfair’s most celebrated interiors; restored in the 1990s. The apartment was reunited with the rest of the property in 1982.

Reasons for Listing

Nos. 39 and 39A Brook Street and 22 Avery Row is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as an early-C18 townhouse remodelled and extended 1821-3 in the neo-classical manner by Jeffry Wyatt, later Sir Jeffry Wyatville, one of the principal architects of the reign of George IV. It is a rare example of an architect's home and attached office, and one of only a few pre-Victorian London houses designed by an architect for his own occupation that survives in relatively unaltered form;
* Interiors: substantial joinery, fittings and decorative features survive from the C18 and from Wyatt's remodelling. Of particular note is the Gallery, one of London’s most notable neo-classical interiors. The 1950s decorative schemes by Fowler and Lancaster are of considerable interest in their own right;
* Historic interest: as the town house and office of Sir Jeffry Wyatville, where he lived throughout his career; also as the premises of Sybil Colefax and John Fowler, the foremost English decorating firm of the C20, and the home of the influential interior designer Nancy Lancaster.

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