Sunday, 31 July 2011
Spencer House is aptly described as London's most magnificent 18th Century private Palace. In fact the only private palace left in London and originally the house of the ancestors of Lady Diane Spencer. Last week 39 Marketors were privileged to have a private tour. Welcomed by Baron Charles de Chassiron, Chairman of Spencer House Trust, which runs the house, we were given a brief introduction to the history of the house. Rothschild Investment Trust took the building over ten years ago and over the intervening period an extensive restoration has taken place. And much needed it was too. Since the war it has been home to everything from the Ladies Army and Navy Club, Christies the auctioneers, British Oxygen Company who converted it to offices and lastly the Economist Intelligence Unit. Having been stripped of valuables during the war and following the depredations of commercial usage it is no surprise the restoration took ten years.
The tour took us through a variety of state rooms which reflected the two original designers' passion for the classical Greek and Roman architectural style. Many wonderful paintings and pieces of furniture have been acquired, borrowed or specially commissioned to furnish the house.. It is a treasure trove of good taste--but then it was all put together by a specially assembled ''Good Taste'' committee. This is a connoisseurs' paradise and is open to the public on Sundays--Google it and go--you will not be disappointed.
After the tour we walked round the corner to the Avenue restaurant in St James's Street. Here we had an excellent meal which was voted one of the best value London restaurants that anyone could recall. Private splendour and good food. What's not to like.