Spencer House

Spencer House, St James’s, London

London’s finest surviving 18th Century private house, which was built in 1756-1766 for the first Lord Spencer. He commissioned the design from John Vardy and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, to create a large London House to cement his position and status. The facade of the building and much of the internal architecture remain unaltered and as intended by the first Lord Spencer.

Spencer house is in the heart of London, just a short distance from St James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster. The house is still owned by the 9th Earl Spencer but has been let out to long term tenants in recent history, it is currently leased to Lord and Lady Rothschild and managed by the Rothschild foundation. The house underwent extensive refurbishment and reopened in 1991, it is a popular for special events, receptions and weddings.  

Spencer House, The Palm Room Ref 1001

The Palm Room

The spectacular architecture in the Palm Room survives largely as designed by Vardy.

The Palm trees were chosen as a symbol of marital fertility and also serve to underline the eighteenth-century belief in the close connection between classical architecture and nature.

Humphries Weaving supplied a narrow woven all silk damask in light sage green for the palm room furnishings. The festoon curtains use the same light sage warp colour but with a more silvery weft for the figure, this creates a point of difference between the furniture and the window treatment.  The colours were carefully developed under the direction of renowned decorator David Mlinaric. As such the design and colour have become synonymous with Spencer House.

Project references, Furniture:  1158 / 1458

Project references, Curtains:  1001 / 1059

Lady Spencer’s Room

This was Lady Spencer’s private drawing room where she received guests.

The crimson damask in this room matches that of the Great Room. Both early schemes were in green but replaced with crimson in the late 18th Century, probably by Henry Holland. Humphries Weaving were asked to recreate the narrow woven all silk damask in a rich crimson which was used for wall coverings, festoon curtains and upholstery.

The design was redrawn by the Humphries Weaving studio from an early 18th Century French document from John Cornforth, but versions of this design are also to be found at Holkham Hall, Norfolk and Castletown Cox Southern Ireland.

Project references: 981 / 1004 / 1104

The Great Room

The largest of the State Rooms at Spencer House, the Great Room is used for receptions, balls and is also a picture gallery.

Leading off of Lady Spencer’s Room the striking crimson scheme continues into the Great Room. Humphries Weaving created a narrow woven all silk damask in a rich crimson which was used for wall coverings, festoon curtains and upholstery.

Project references: 981 / 1004 / 1104

The Painted Room

Designed and painted in the ‘antique manner’ by ‘Athenian’ Stuart the Painted Room is one of the most famed interiors of Spencer House and the 18th Century in general.

Using the same design as the previously mentioned State rooms, Humphries Weaving supplied a narrow woven all silk damask in sage green woven for window festoons and furnishings. The colour was carefully developed under the direction of renowned decorator David Mlinaric. As such the design and colour have become synonymous with Spencer House.

The gilded furniture is Stuart’s original for the room, which is on long term loan to Spencer House from the Victoria & Albert Museum and English Heritage.

Project references: 1138

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