Tag Archives: William Cowen

Down Brompton Lane: more houses and stories

This is another leg in our journey through Old Brompton in the first half of the 19th century when Brompton Lane (now Old Brompton Road) was a main artery linking Fulham with the Kensington Turnpike. You already know that this was a country of market gardens, nurseries, inns and and tea houses and above all isolated houses known through watercolours by Cowen and Shepherd or maps with the evocative names of their makers – Greenwood, Crutchley, Starling.

We start at a house we have seen before.

Gloucester Lodge THS15b Cpic 119

Gloucester Lodge was the short lived home of the politician George Canning, built on the site of Florida Gardens opposite the future site of Gloucester Road station. Thomas Hosmer Shepherd has captured a certain gloomy wildness in the scene. Canning was never happy there.

The most enigmatic of the artists of the old Brompton area was the artist of the Red Portfolio.

Hale House  2538

Hale House was a little way north of Brompton Lane between Gloucester Lodge and Roslin Cottage which we’ve also seen before. Greenwood’s 1820 map shows several of the houses we’ve encountered in our travels.

Greenwood 1820 - Copy

John Rocque’s 1741-45 map of Kensington shows it in a rather more isolated position and calls it Hell House which is surely an error (there were many variations in the names of places on these early maps) but it is one which would have pleased the Red Portfolio artist who loved a good story. The other story about Hale House is that it had once been occupied by Cromwell, but although the house was 16th century this is doubtful. The name stuck though and when the grounds of the house were turned into a public tea gardens in 1785 they became Cromwell Gardens. The artist notes that the owner was hedging his bets with a bust of Charles II over the door. The gardens were entered by a small bridge just visible under the arch on the right of the circular lawn. “Mr Hughes used to exhibit his feats of horsemanship in the circle around the tree.”

The house had several outbuildings as can be seen in this watercolour by William Cowen.

C8 Hale House

I’ve split the image below in half. The house had a partial moat fed by a spring. The spring also supplied water for  a bath house.

The Conduit in the grounds of Hale House 2522

Inside was a conduit used for bathing.

The Conduit in the grounds of Hale House 2522 - Copy

It doesn’t look too inviting, but opportunities for bathing were thinner on the ground then. It looks like a good place for a secret meeting or an assignation, an idea which would also have appealed to the artist.

The figure on horseback was also said to be Cromwell. Hale House was demolished in 1853.

If you had followed the narrow lane (possibly called Cromwell Row) past Roslin Cottage you would come to the alms houses buillt by William Methwold (one of the occupants of Hale House).

Old Mansion, Old Brompton Road c. 1837-40

The Alms Houses are the small buildings on the right. The large building is described by the artist as an old mansion – a later archivist has added “on Old Brompton Road”. One author thinks that the house is Brompton Hall, described in an advertisement of 1749 as “the Great White House” where there was accommodation for “persons afflicted with Nervous Disordesr”. I’m not quite sure how that squares with the position of the Alms Houses on the map above, but who knows? It isn’t the only place painted by this artist which is hard to locate now.

The lane turned south east to bring you to Brompton Lane nearly opposite the Hoop and Toy Inn.

Hoop and Toy C26

Cowen gives it his usual air of bucolic calm. Note the two figures seated at a bench and the tower of St Luke’s Church in Chelsea, only  a short distance  away.

We also have a view of the inn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd.

Hoop and Toy Inn Thurloe Place THS26a Cpic16

Shepherd was a very much better known artist than Cowen. He painted hundreds of water colour views of London many of which were the basis for engravings which were published in books and seperately. He was a distinctly urban artist with a precise eye for architectural detail so it’s quite appropriate that he should become our main guide as we approach London.

There seems to have been a host of houses in the area with similar names including two Grove Houses, one on Kensington Gore, and the  other close to the Hoop and Toy, also known as Brompton Place and possibly also Grove Lodge. Shepherd calls this Grove House, Bronmpton.

Grove House Brompton THS28a

This Grove House would have been close to the current site of South Kensington Station. At the time of the painting it still enjoys the rural isolation of old Brompton. It had been the home in the 18th century of the magistrate Sir John Fielding the blind half-brother of the novelist Henry Fielding and founder of the Bow Street Runners. The “Blind Beak” had also lived in Chelsea but he died at Grove House in 1780. Sometime later the literary journalist William Jerdan lived there. Jerdan was also a founder – of the Literary Gazette in which he published the first poems of his friend and neighbour Letitia Elizabeth Landon. We came across her, and her tragic history in a previous post.

Shepherd likes the scampering dog and  the birds in the sky (also favourites of the Chelsea artist W W Burgess).

Further east down the road was another large house, Brompton Park House.It went from a single home to one of the inevitable girl’s boarding schools in the 18th century. It had then been split into a terrace of three houses, as it seems to be here, visible on the right, across the street from another inn, the Bell and Horns.

We’ve finally arrived at Brompton Road, the former Kensington Turnpike from Hyde Park Corner to Hammersmith.

Bell and Horn by TH Shepherd THS17

The Bell and Horns looks like a welcome spot to stop on a lonely journey, but imagine Brompton Oratory on the right and buildings right up to a rebuilt three storey verson of  the inn from the left.

But let’s not end the journey at an inn. Not far away in the late 1820s Holy Trinity Church had been built at the lonely end of the road.

Holy Trinity Church Brompton THS20a

An avenue of trees leading down to to the church. The little dog again, and a couple of women in the modest fashions of the 1840s.It could be the setting for an M R James story. Shepherd, like the other artists has his own world of subdued middle class life. This is the direction life was taking in the old district of Brompton.

Postscript

I suppose this is the last of my ventures into old Brompton (although you never know….). We’ll certainly be looking at Thomas Hosmer Shepherd again soon.

Thanks to Isabel for last week’s post. And thanks also to Kim for some last minute scanning earier today.


Bladen Lodge and Bousfield School: 20th century Brompton

When I was writing some of the recent posts about the Old Brompton area I made a list of the named individual houses along and near  the Old Brompton Road to help me.  The fascination of that area for me is that almost all of it was completely redeveloped in the second half of the 19th century and in the whole of the 20th, so that the quiet semi-rural road with seperate houses, inns and market gardens is now gone and was hardly touched by the age of photography. It now has to be known using maps and water colour paintings. Both can be tools of the imagination as much as records of how things looked. So Old Brompton is partly a fantasy world, partly a place reconstructed from books and plans.

However some of those houses were photographed. This week’s post is about one of those and the remarkable building that replaced it.

If you go eastwards from the modern Coleherne Court you pass a stretch of road which was called Bolton Gardens. In one of the group of eight houses there was the house where Beatrix Potter lived as a child. Behind it was South Bolton Gardens where there were three large houses: Rathmore Lodge, Osborn House and Bladen (or Bladon) Lodge. The modern version of this street is a cul-de-sac leading to Bousfield School which was built in 1954-56. . This is a view of the south front of Bladen Lodge.

Bladen Lodge Country Life March 17 1964 p287 south front - Copy

The original Bladen Lodge was built in 1836, an unremarkable house with a substantial garden (though much smaller than that of  Hereford House / Coleherne Court). In 1927  a Mr C L Dalziell acquired it and in 1928 had two wings added to the east and the west. The architect  was Clough Williams-Ellis. His name will be familiar to fans of the 60s TV series the Prisoner as the creator of the location of the series, the exotic Italianate village of Portmerion in Wales.

Bladen Lodge Country Life March 17 1964 p287  forecourt 1 - Copy

This shows the Mediterranean paved garden on the north side of the house with its enigmatic pond. It’s quite different from the nearby houses but oddly recaptures the seclusion of the walled gardens of older and more modest houses like the long gone Hawk Cottage.

C12 Hawk Cottage garden

William Cowen might have been impressed by William-Ellis’s improvements which almost doubled the size of Bladen Lodge.

Bladen Lodge Country Life March 17 1964 p287 forecourt 2 - Copy

I could easily imagine this view as part of the Village. It has the same other-wordly quality as Portmerion, particularly when I recall my first pre-video viewings of the Prisoner in cool black and white. Here is a view of part of Portmerion:

P1010461

Inside Bladen Lodge was really  another English country house.

Bladen Lodge Country Life March 17 1964 p288 drawing room - Copy

The interior is less packed with decoration than the old Coleherne Court and there were a few modernist touches here and there but the old pattern of drawing room, dining room:

Bladen Lodge Country Life March 17 1964 p288 dining room - Copy

And above all the library was retained:

Bladen Lodge Country Life March 17 1964 p288 library - Copy

Bladen Lodge was bombed during the war and the site largely cleared. There were proposals for a block of flats but the London County Council already had an eye on the site for a new school. They acquired several houses in Bolton Gardens to expand the site and built Bousfield School in 1954-56.

Bousfield School west front 1956 K61-536

Here I declare an interest. Bousfield School is a striking building and I’ve been aware of it since I first worked in the area. But my son (now the transport consultant to the blog, as well as a technical advisor on IT matters) went to the school in the 90s so I’ve been in and out of the buliding many times and have grown very fond of it.

The post-war schools building programme was a decisive break with the old county schools of London. It owes more to Le Corbusier than the tall sometimes gloomy Edwardian schools that still survive in many parts of London.

A “villa in a park” was what the architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon were aiming for, and that is pretty much what they got.

Bousfield School west front 1956 K61-535

At the rear is that curious sphere on a pole, a water tower, which still causes passers-by to do a double take. It also just struck me that it bears a certain resemblance to Rover the strange bubble device which pursued Number 6 and the others in the Prisoner. That woman on the right looks perturbed about something.

Bousfield School east front 1965 K65-120

The entrance has an ornamental pond, still frequented by water fowl despite its small size.

Bousfield School assembly hall K60-320

The interior is light, airy and full of space, even when dozens of children are moving around it at a rapid pace.

Bousfield School stairsl K60-320

This staircase reminds me of the interior of the Mendelsohn house in Old Church Street.

So although it’s a shame that Williams-Ellis’s 20th century reworking of a Georgian house no longer exists, Bousfield School adds some post war distinction to predominantly 19th century stretch of road.

I’m adding a couple of bonus pictures to complete this look at the junction of Old Brompton Road and the Boltons. On the east side of the Boltons another house was built two years after Bladen Lodge.

Sidmouth Lodge The Boltons  Copy

This was Sidmouth Lodge. The Survey of London with its usual eye for the telling detail describes the facade as “neo-Greek…with a grave and narrow entrance between Ionic columns”. Once this is pointed out the slightly faded photograph does catch a slightly mortuary look to the entrance. Behind this view was a house built in 1842 by Robert Gunter as a cottage for yearly letting which was given the intriguing name of Moreton Tower. I haven’t been able to find a picture of that unfortunately.

Sidmouth House was demolished in 1939. A telephone exchange was built on the site. That building still exists sitting incongruously on the edge of the oval of large villas which forms the Boltons. More of them another  time perhaps.

Finally, go back to that list of Bladen Lodge’s neighbours. One of those houses, Osborn House built in 1805 is still with us, possibly the last survivor of Old Brompton now nestled right against the grounds of Bousfield School.

DSC_4337

I took this photograph a few weeks ago while I was doing some field work for another quirky building tale of old Brompton which I may yet lay before you.

Postscript

As you may have guessed I was a little pushed this week. Not only was I off work for a few crucial days but my computer at home, a long serving Dell Studio died tragically preventing me working on this post there. But I was very taken with the pictures of Bladen Lodge which come from Country Life of March 1934 and wanted to use them even if there weren’t quite enough. I’m working on yet another old Brompton post but I won’t do that for a little while, to give you a bit of a rest.

The image of Portmerion is from this excellent site devoted to black and white photography:

http://lookingattheworldinblackandwhite.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/portmeirion.html

Incidentally, my son like many others of his generation finds my devotion to the Prisoner inexplicable. He’d rather watch Hong Kong buses and Russian car crashes.

Postscript to the postscript

I don’t normally come back to posts to add stuff but I thought this detail from the 1862 OS map might help a bit.

1862 OS Map X9 showing Bladon Lodge


The village of the dead: wandering in Brompton Cemetery

This week’s post features more photographs by Bernard Selwyn. One of his major obsessions was Brompton Cemetery and he took literally hundreds of photos of it particularly in the early 1990s.  By then the cemetery was part working cemetery, part ancient monument and part wildlife reserve. He (and I) enjoyed the overcrowded and overgrown look of an old cemetery. it’s another form of  the beauty of decay. But instead of the industrial decay that we saw in Lots Road, this is a studied form of neglect. The managed growth of vegetation gives the cemetery an air of calm, like an oasis of countryside in the city.

16 dec 1990 5

A slightly misty December morning.

And a sunny afternoon in August:

26 aug 1990 B12

We have grown into an appreciation of the Victorian celebration of death, the elaborate mourning rituals and even more elaborate monuments. But it’s one of those areas where the past really is another country. The Victorians were closer to death than we are. They died more easily and more frequently. They died at home. They lost children. And when their loved ones were gone they wanted to visit them in a place where they could grieve. The public cemetery movement in the first half of the 19th century was partly a response to public health considerations, as the church yards and burial grounds filled up, but it also filled the cultural needs of a population that was becoming more urbanised.

So as the cities filled up, the dead moved out to the country. This design by Benjamin Baud shows the West London and Westminster Cemetery as a walled garden in the open country.

Brompton Cemetery designby Baud

The great tree-lined central avenue leads down to an circular colonnade beyond which is the Anglican chapel. In the design there were two side chapels for Roman Catholics and Dissenters. These were never executed due to considerations of cost.

Brompton Cemetry & Kensington Canal by Cowen

There were also plans for a water gate on the Kensington Canal for barge-born coffins.

Victorian London was ringed by a series of these cemeteries: Kensal Green, Highgate, Abney Park, Nunhead, and others. The great cemetery in Glasgow is called the Necropolis – a city of the dead. At 39 acres, Brompton is quite compact (the sprawling Kensal Green is 56 acres) – a village of the dead, and as London grew around it it was squeezed by major roads to the north, south and east, with a railway on the east in the filled-in canal.

17 aug 1990 D4

Looking north west across the central circle, with the Earls Court Exhibition Centre and the Empress State Building on the horizon.

12 Jan 1991 23

Looking south at the eastern entrance to the colonnades. The Belvedere Tower at Chelsea Harbour and one chimney of Lots Road power station on either side of the domed chapel and the bell tower.

There are monumental tombs with familiar features:

17 aug 1990 D26

The funeral urn covered in drapery.

17 aug 1990 D33

An angel, with two crosses.

17 aug 1990 D32

A woman in classical dress with a cross carved to look like wood.

There are also some unusual monuments such as this:

06 aug 1990 A24

A sad and weathered lion marks the grave of Gentleman John Jackson,  a boxer. Many famous names are buried in Brompton – Emeline Pankhurst, John Snow, Henry Cole, Fanny Brawne, Marchesa Luisa Casati, to pick a few from the list.

Here for example, in the centre of the picture, is the monument to the musician Richard Tauber:

23 aug 1990 C25

On the right edge though, partially obscured by the undergrowth, is a monument  to someone who isn’t interred at Brompton.

23 aug 1990 C34

When I first explored Brompton in the 1980s I would sometimes sit where that man is sitting. It’s a pleasant spot for eating sandwiches and reading ( I recall reading a lot of Gollancz thrillers) . Wondering who was inside this Egyptian style mausoleum I consulted the Survey of London and discovered that it was built for Francis Jack Needham, 2nd Earl of Kilmorey. (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50028

From other sources I learned that the Earl was apparently dissatisfied with this potential resting place and had another Egyptian mausoleum built for him near his house in Twickenham  Which is interesting enough but you can also discover through the medium of the internet that this mausoleum is the tomb of two spinster sisters (unnamed on the sites I looked at) and is also either a time machine or one of several time portals planted across London for the convenience of temporal travellers. As the custodian of a purely metaphorical time machine I was naturally amazed to hear this.

Also amazing is the fact stated in at least two usually reliable sources: that Kilmorey initially erected the tomb at Brompton and later transplanted it to Twickenham. All  I can say is that I have seen this mausoleum at Brompton over a number of years and that I’m pretty sure it’s still there now.

I like a fanciful tale as much as the next man (more, probably) but the romance and wonder of Brompton Cemetery lies in the solemnity of the memorials and the calm country atmosphere rather than steampunk stories.

26 aug 1990 B18

The sometimes forlorn graves and monuments.

17 aug 1990 A30A

The feeling that you might be in a country lane (so long as you don’t look up and see a tower block.)

You could walk down a dark set of steps into the catacombs. I once went on a short tour of the then partially open circle. It’s very quiet down there.

17 aug 1990 D35

In the colonnades you catch a glimpse of another time when people walked this path to visit a loved one.

17 aug 1990 D15

Brompton Cemetery, which was once a walled garden in the midst of semi rural Old Brompton is now the last reminder of that forgotten part of London’s past.

Brompton Cemetery

Postscript

I wouldn’t want to be drawn into any arguments so I won’t cite any sources for the strange tales about the Kilmorey mausoleum or its possible movements. As I’ve said I like a fanciful story, and I like to tell stories myself. So no offense intended to anyone. Brompton Cemetery is a place which captures the imagination.

Incidentally the Earl’s daughter-in-law Ellen Constance Needham features in one of the costume ball posts and has her own interesting story.

The indigo wash view of the canal and cemetery is by William Cowen. I’ve used it before but it is appropriate here.

If all goes to plan we’ll only be moving a few hundred yards to the subject of next week’s post, another tale of old Brompton.


The quiet life: desirable homes in old Brompton

If you were an estate agent working in the early decades of the 19th century the area around the village of Old Brompton would be a prime territory for you. It was still a nearly rural spot, of quiet roads, market gardens, nurseries, cottages and inns. There was plenty of land available for development, whether the customer wanted a family sized cottage or a suburban villa. Or even something grander. Where Brompton Lane curved south to meet Gloucester Grove there were houses to suit every kind of buyer. Cowen country as we like to call it.

 Greenwood 1820 - Copy

Looking for a place for you, your wife, your four daughters and your servant? What about Hawk Cottage?

C13 Hawk Cottage C13

This detached residence built in 1802 is located in a secluded part of the neighbourhood. There is a secure walled garden where you and your family can enjoy the pleasures of the country free from disturbance.

C12 Hawk Cottage garden

Perhaps you are looking for something a little less modest?

Brompton Villa

This exceptional three storey 1770 property is set well back from the main road. It has nine bedrooms, two dressing rooms, a drawing room, a breakfast room, a kitchen, a larder and cellars. There is a coach house with space for two coaches, an extensive kitchen garden, cow house and piggery. This would be ideal for a large family and staff, or a small religious cult looking for privacy. It was the home for a while of the celebrated poet Laetitia Elizabeth Landon.

Laetitia Elizabeth Landon

The beautiful and talented Miss Landon made an unwise marriage to a Mr McLean, the Governor of the Gold Coast. Lonely and unhappy in Africa, she died according to the coroner’s verdict “of having incautiously taken a dose of prussic acid”. There is an account of her burial  conducted by torchlight in “a pitiless torrent of rain”in the grounds of “the Castle” by a group of cloaked figures which adds a Gothic note to her mysterious death. (S C Hall – see postscript)

The estate owner has also provided some houses on the Old Brompton Road.

OS1862 X9 featuring the Rosary etc

The Rosery - Rosary Old Brompton Road cc

This 1774 house known as the Rosary is the home of Samuel Carter Hall and his wife the novelist Anna Maria Hall, author of such works as Midsummer Eve. The single storey gothic wing was added by Mr Hall as a library. This view may show the author at work.

The Rosery - Rosary Old Brompton Road Library cc

Other artistic residents of the area include the Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind.

Jenny Lind - Johanna Maria Lind Goldschmidt K61-1032

The famous singer’s longest residence was further west along the Old Brompton Road but she lived for a time in the nearby villa “Clareville”, depicted below in a sketch by Mr Thomas Hosmer Sheppard.

Clareville 1853 Hosmer Sheperd 36

If these properties are beyond your price range there are several others on our books. In leafy Cromwell Lane opposite the Stanhope Nursery you will find this pair of cottages:

C11  In Cromwell Lane

Rosalind, or Roslin Cottage is the house in the foreground. It is convenient for the White Hart Inn. In the distance is Vine Cottage, an equally substantial small family house with all modern facilities. If you continue along the lane you pass the venerable Hale House (not one of our properties I’m afraid) and turning left find the exceptional residence called Gloucester Lodge here depicted once again by the skilled hand of Mr Sheppard.

Gloucester Lodge - THS 4a

This grand house with its colonnades was the home of the respected politician Mr George Canning.

Turning southward again, and recently on the market is Mr Rigby’s Cottage.

C23  Mr Rigby's cottage

This charming rustic retreat is in need of some renovation but for the right buyer has great potential.

There is one final property to show although the current owners are not inclined to sell. We can quote from that august publication the Survey of London:

An advertisement of the house for sale in 1820 noticed its extensive aviary and conservatory, the ‘high condition’ of the plantations and the ‘particularly beautiful and diversified views’ enjoyed from the house. This shows the severest style of the Regency set off by rustic verandahing and an elaboration of sun-shades and trellis-work around the great west facing bow, evoking the fierce suns of a still crescent empire rather than umbrageous Brompton.

Cresswell Lodge by William Cowen GC2420

We would argue with the term umbrageous. The area enjoys bright weather for much of the year particularly in the salubrious grounds of Cresswell Lodge. The house is currently a school for young ladies. The head mistress Mrs Burchatt, her sisters and their five staff instruct up to 17 girls, particularly excelling in mathematics and French. We are currently negotiating with her with a view to converting the house into a small number of luxury apartments. We have established a small office for prospective clients.

The house is located off the main road behind Hawk Cottage accessed by this picturesque avenue.

C22 Avenue to Cresswell Lodge C22

If you can find your way back to 1842 our office manager Mrs Collins will be pleased to see you.

GEORGE DUNLOP LESLIE - Copy

Postscript

Indigo wash water colours by William Cowen. Pictures of the Rosary and Brompton Villa from S C Hall’s A book of memories (1877). The final picture is a detail from a painting by George Dunlop Leslie.


Idle days in southern Kensington: William Cowen country

Through the trees you can see a domed building. We’re not truly in the country but this isn’t the city. It’s the suburbia of the 1840s. Not many miles from this spot there are wide roads, grand houses, public buildings, slums and rookeries, courts and prisons, open sewers and dirty rivers. But here there are leafy lanes and walled nursery gardens with occasional cottages and inns.

(Click on the image to see the details)

Here are some houses in the little village of Earls Court. A woman hangs out washing to dry in the clean air.

Here is Walnut Tree Walk or Redcliffe Gardens as we’d call it today which takes you south from Earls Court Road to Fulham Road.

In the distance you can glimpse some large buildings. The big places always seem to be in the distance, as in this picture of Cromwell Road, or Row:

Not the Cromwell Road we know of course. That wouldn’t come into being until the 1850s. If the angle is right the distant tower is Holy Trinity, Brompton before the Oratory got in the way. The view below has another church, St Luke’s in the background behind the newly built Brompton Hospital. (Or The Diseased Chest Hospital as it is called on the parish map of 1846.)

But the focus of the picture is the pair of young men and their reluctant looking horse. Things look more relaxed in Gore Lane:

Outside Ivy Cottage are two women, a child, a dog and a couple of odd looking birds. Chickens? Or guinea fowl maybe. Guinea fowl are strange looking creatures, I think. I once came upon a crowd of them at a farm (or is that a flock?). They moved away from me slowly in unison, their iridescent tail faeathers trailing behind. The sight has stayed with me through the years since that encounter.

Meanwhile at Mr Attwood’s house it’s all quiet.

Mr Attwood owned one of the many local nurseries and lived here with his wife, seven children and two servants. He is still remembered in gardening circles.

My favourite picture from the collection is this one:

Another young woman with a dog and the suggestion of a ruin, but the best touch is that Narnian lamppost. This is the avenue to Cresswell Lodge. At this time Cresswell Lodge was a private boarding school for young ladies, which sounds like an ideal place to go walking through a wardrobe.

This one has the same fantasy quality:

It’s Rose Lane, which leads to Kensington by a scenic route. The two women talking in the shade of the high wall appear to be in no hurry to go anywhere. Through the open gate is a still more private garden. The  sun casts long shadows.

No-one is sure where Rose Lane was exactly but may have been just west of Gloucester Road perhaps near the present Rosary Gardens.

William Cowen the Yorkshire-born landscape artist and author of Six Weeks in Corsica came to live at Gibraltar Cottage, Thistle Grove in 1843. Not the same Thistle Grove as today’s. The wide still somewhat picturesque alley we know today, which also has a Narnian style lamppost took its name from Drayton Gardens which didn’t need it anymore. Cowen lived there until his death in 1860. The indigo wash water colour paintings featured here are part of a set of 31 which seem to have come from the same sketchbook. They all have the same dreamlike quality, the same calm feeling of unhurried summer days in an idyllic rural landscape.

Back to the beginning, here again is Cowen’s most recognizable subject. The domed building is revealed as the chapel of Brompton Cemetery, another kind of walled garden at the end of Brompton Lane, by the side of the short lived Kensington Canal.

This is also the end of Cowen country. You can imagine visiting these landscapes but you’d need more than a time machine to get into the country of his imagination.


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