Overview

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Charles James Richardson (1806-1871)
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Charles James Richardson (1806-1871)

Lord Anson's House in St James's Square

Details
Charles James Richardson (1806-1871)
Lord Anson's House in St James's Square
signed 'C.J. Richardson' (lower right, in the margin) and inscribed 'LORD ANSONS HOUSE STJAMES SQUARE/The first work of Athenian Stuart' (lower centre in the margin)
pencil and watercolour; and a handcoloured aquatint of St James's Square, 1812
9¾ x 7 in. (24.8 x 17.8 cm.) (2)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 7 April 1998, lot 38, where purchased by the present owner.
Special Notice

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Lot Essay

Thomas Anson, MP for Lichfield and member of the Society of Dilettanti, called on fellow Dilettante James 'Athenian' Stuart (1713-1788) to design a house in St. James's Square in 1763, a year after Stuart had published his architectural record The Antiquities of Athens. The façade is based on classical principles and the portico was directly inspired by the Erechtheum in Athens. Architecturally, it stands out not only as the first instance of the Greek form applied to a terrace house but also as the only remaining domestic façade by Stuart. In 1793 the architectural framework was added to by Samuel Wyatt (1737-1807). The building has been known as Lichfield House since 1831 when Thomas William, 2nd Viscount Anson became 1st Earl of Lichfield. The house was immemorialized in 1835 with the Lichfield House Compact when Lord Melbourne was able to form a government with the support garnered from Irish M.P.'s following a meeting in the Library. The house, at 15 St. James's Square, has been owned by the Clerical, Medical and General Life Assurance Society since 1856.

C.J. Richardson, the assistant and last pupil of Sir John Soane was named by Soane in his will as the assistant curator and assistant librarian of his museum. In his later years Soane relied greatly on Richardson to produce drawings, owing to his failing eyesight, and it is possible that the present lot may be a reduced copy by Richardson of an earlier drawing by Soane.
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