96 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea

Ferne Arfin writes at The View From Chelsea:

“…You’ll need X-ray vision to see the plaque that is alleged to be at 98 Cheyne Walk. It’s behind a high brick wall. But just so you know, this was the home of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel who built the first tunnel under the Thames, the world’s first underwater tunnel through soft ground. He started it in 1825 and it wasn’t finished until 1843. While living here, he also worked on the education of his young son, who became the much more illustrious 19th century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel – designer of the Great Western Railway, the Clifton Suspension Bridge over the Avon Gorge at Bristol and the giant screw propeller, sail-assisted steamship, the SS Great Britain which you can still visit in Bristol. The lovely yellow house next door at 96 Cheyne Walk belonged to James Abbott McNeill Whistler and his mother – you’ve no doubt seen her in his painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, usually known as Whistler’s Mother…”

From the Historic England entry:

“CHEYNE WALK SW3 Lindsey House, Nos. 95 to 101 (inclusive)

(Formerly listed as Nos 96 to 101 (inclusive) (Lindsey House))

24.6.54

II*

Probably rebuilt as Lindsey House in 1674 but altered and divided into separate houses in 1775. Three storeys and dormers. Two windows each (No 98 – 3 windows). Stucco. Windows square-headed, almost flush frames. Glazing bars. Tiled mansard roof. Moulded wood eaves cornice. Bands at first and second floor. Rusticated quoins to Nos 95, 96, 98 and 100. No 98 has finely carved doorcase with split pediment, cast iron balconies on columns to first and second floor and balcony railing above cornice. No 100 – 3 window splay bay and covered entrance on forecourt resigned by George Devey in late C19. No 101, added c1752 by the Moravian architect Sigismund von Gersdorf, forms part of the group. No 96 has LCC tablet commemorating residence of J A M Whistler. No 98 to Mark and Isambard Brunel. (R.C.H.M. and Survey of London, Vol IV).”

A series of seven London County Council plaques were produced in 1925–6 in the ‘Della Robbia’ style, featuring a colourful raised wreath border. Five plaques of this type, manufactured by Doulton, survive, including that mentioned above.

From moruslondinium.org:

“The mulberry can be found by the street at the former London home of the American born artist James McNeill Whistler at 96 Cheyne Walk. Here Whistler painted the iconic portrait of his mother. The house is part of the original 1674 Lindsey House, which comprised numbers 96-101. The house was built in 1674 by the third Earl of Lindsey on the riverside site of Thomas More’s garden and is thought to be the oldest house in Kensington and Chelsea. It was extensively remodelled in 1750 by Count Zinzendorf for the Moravian community in London.”

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/idoxWAM/doc/Other-2197836.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=2197836&location=Volume2&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=1

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/idoxWAM/doc/Correspondence-1015413.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=1015413&location=VOLUME2&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=21

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