As I said in my first post about William Luker Jr, his illustrations to W J Loftie’s Kensington: Historical and Picturesque number over 300. So I haven’t covered all the best ones in two posts. There are still plenty left. In this case we’re following Luker inside various homes in the Kensington area.
Light shines through glass panels in the door showing a hall with ornate paneling and a fireplace. Beside it a chair with a high back, over which is draped a robe of some kind. It’s these little details that always intrigue me. here’s another empty space.
This hall is pleasantly cluttered with a seemingly random collection of art objects. It seems to be a common feature in the rooms of Luker’s friends, like at Lowther Lodge. (An interesting building in itself.)
Also cluttered in parts, but quite spacious too.
Luker had access to some luxurious properties, like this drawing room with plants and paintings.
And this studio, currently unoccupied.
With a large painting taking shape.
Another empty hall, with a decorative floor.
And eventually we see some people. In this case John Everett Millais, posed with a palette in hand, facing his wife Effie.
The Millais house was in Palace Gate, and is now an embassy. It was Effie they used to say, whose pubic hair frightened John Ruskin (although if I mention it I feel obliged to say it was probably not true. The marriage was annulled. Ruskin later went on to found an institution we’re very fond of here at the Time Centre.)
Below, another old friend of the blog.
Edward Linley Sambourne, another friend of Luker’s. at work in his studio in Stafford Terrace.
From empty or sparsely populated rooms to a room at the Kensington Vestry Hall which is filled with people and music.
A musical evening. Some ladies removed their hats for the convenience of other audience members. Others kept them on, but people would have been too polite to mention the matter.
In the previous century, a less informal musical evening in a house in Kensington Square, coloured in for the published version of the illustration.
And in Luker’s “now”, hundreds of people in a room to hear a concert, at the Albert Hall.
But I think he was happiest in a nearly empty room.
With just a cat, perhaps, checking the room for feline friendly refreshments.
Or a couple of dogs in another cluttered room in Notting Hill Square. They look like they’re waiting for Luker to go so they can choose a sofa or chair in which they could relax.
Finally, back at the Millais house.
With a seal. Not a real one of course. It’s not Rossetti’s, after all.
All these rooms could have had a story. I’m sure Miss Miranda Green could have been in many of them. She was very well connected. But she wasn’t here this week. Perhaps next time….
I’ve got a cold so I’m not very lively at the moment, hence the low word count this week. But Mr Luker’s pictures are usually evocative enough on their own.