Past Seat Of: Edward Linley Sambourne, 1875-1910. Anne, Countess of Rosse, 20th century.
Current Ownership Type: Government
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction
Current Ownership Use / Details: Owned and operated by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
House & Family History: Considered the best-preserved Victorian house in the world, 18 Stafford Terrace was the home of Edward Linley Sambourne, a noted cartoonist for "Punch," between 1875 and 1910. Moving in almost when it was new, it was Mr. Sambourne and his family who decorated the House in its upper middle class Aesthetic style, covering every nook and cranny, and every each of wall space, with something! From one of the Aesthetic movement's trademarks, the sunflower, to the stained glass windows and William Morris wallpapers, it was very much a house of its time. In fact, there were probably thousands of such houses throughout Britain; what makes the Linley Sambourne House unique is that it survives, completely and utterly in all its late 19th century glory, its compatriots having been lost to the ravages of time and changing tastes. After Mr. Sambourne passed away in 1910, the House went to his wife, Marion, who lived here until her death in 1914, when 18 Stafford Terrace was inherited by their bachelor son Roy, who kept the house exactly as he knew it--a monument to high Victorian taste--until his own death in 1946. It was only when the Linley Sambourne House passed through Roy's sister to her daughter, Anne, Countess of Rosse, that its uniqueness began to be appreciated. In fact, it was here, in 1957, that Lady Rosse formed The Victorian Society, specifically so that houses like this (that were then being demolished in great numbers) could be saved. Lady Rosse negotiated the sale of the Linley Sambourne House to the London city government so that it could be preserved as a monument to a way a life that lives today only in the pages of history books. Lady Rosse was the mother of Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, who married Princess Margaret in 1960; their son, David Linley, is the internationally renowned furniture designer who started the firm of LINLEY.
House Listed: Grade II*
Park Listed: No Gardens
Location for Movies / TV: "A Room With a View" (1986 - as the setting for the musical evening at Mrs. Vyses's London home). "Maurice" (1987 - as Clive's London home). "Jeeves and Wooster" (1990 - TV series - in the episode "Jeeves Takes Charge" [aka "In Court After the Boat Race," aka "Jeeves' Arrival"] as Aunt Agatha's London home).
Title: Merchant Ivory's English Landscape: Rooms, Views, and Anglo-Saxon Attitudes
Author: Pym, John
Year Published: 1995
Publisher: New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Hudson's Historic Houses & Gardens, 1999
Year Published: 1999
Publisher: Oxfordshire: Norman Hudson & Company
Book Type: Softback