“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres,…

…which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:27-28) King James Bible.

From: Noel Coward – a Biography (1995), by Philip Hoare:

“Eventually in 1917 they moved to Ebury Street, SW1, on the fringes of Belgravia, where Violet Coward took on a boarding-house.”…

It is less than five minutes’ walk from the first address (above) to the second (below)

… “The new-found National Hero had now acquired a new London residence. He had outgrown his rooms at Ebury Street, and in 1930 had sought a smarter address, in Belgravia – the whitened sepulchure of the upper classes and the upwardly mobile…17 Gerald Road, a converted eighteenth-century coach-house, was previously Chester Studios, workplace of the Victorian artist Henrietta Mary Ward…


…and subsequently the home of the dancer Frankie Leverson, who had refurbished the interior in Spanish style…

Attached to the rear, in Burton Mews, Coward also bought the lease of a house for use as Lorn Loraine’s office.

Once again, Syrie Maugham was called upon…a dash of chrome and frosted Lalique glass and geometric rugs gave a modernist touch…


It was an impressive place in which to entertain; John Gielgud recalled one party there ‘when there were at least fifty people up on his balcony’. A guest invited to the studio for cocktails asked Noel who would be there. ‘ “Just ourselves”, he replied; which turned out to mean a throng including Joan Crawford, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, and Laurence Olivier.’ Fairbanks described it as ‘a page out of Vanity Fair…Even a member of the Royal Family, the young, elegant, and very handsome Prince George [whom Fairbanks said was addressed by Noel as ‘P.G.’ and whose photograph featured prominently on a Gerald Road sideboard], came with the Countess of Dalkeith.’ It was, commented Vogue, ‘a party in the enlightened tradition…’.

Here, Coward revelled in the success of Cavalcade (changing his telegraphic address from PLAYBRIT (a patriotic if egotistical statement) to CAVALCADE, KNIGHTS, LONDON). He was flying high, and the ‘yellow press’ delighted in discussing his massive earnings, placing him above George Bernard Shaw and A.A. Milne…Coward was undeniably at the peak of his international career.”

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