• Private Tour: Spencer House (17/11/19)

    Note that this tour is now full! Please email me mariska@arthistoricallondon.com if you would still be interested. If we get enough to form another group, I will let you know!


    Spencer House is one of London’s few remaining 18th century aristocratic townhouses, with magnificent interiors, bang in the middle of central London overlooking Green Park. Built for John, 1st Earl Spencer between 1756 and 1766, Spencer House was recognised as one of the most ambitious aristocratic town houses ever built in London and a pioneer example of Neoclassical architecture.

    Most of these great town houses, which reached a peak of grandeur in the 18th and early 19th century, were demolished early in the 20th, or survive much altered and put to quite different uses (Burlington House, for example, now houses the Royal Academy).

    Like all the other families, the Spencers found themselves unable to maintain a London house on such a grand scale, and moved out in the 1920s. They took most of the contents of the house with them, much of it to the family seat at Althorp (where Lady Diana Spencer grew up) – but, unlike most of the aristocratic families, they didn’t sell up to the property developers and the demolition men, but kept possession, selling leases to a succession of occupants. Finally, in 1985, the lease was bought by RIT Capital Partners, whose chairman, Lord Rothschild, was determined to restore Spencer House to its former glory. It took twelve years – from 1987 to 1999 – to complete the bulk of the restoration, with another five years before the superb replica marble chimneypieces were all carved and installed (by the York master carver Dick Reid and his team). Where possible, original furniture, paintings and sculptures were returned to the house, and, where not, suitable replacements were bought, or borrowed from other houses and collections.

    The result of this painstaking and scrupulous restoration is that Spencer House is now as like its original glorious self as it could possibly be – the only 18th-century palace in London surviving in its original form and with many of its original furnishings. And, happily, it is open to the public every Sunday (except in August). If you want a taste of 18th-century London living at its most sumptuous, this is the place to go.


    The tour is guided by a Blue badge guide and last approximately 1 hour.


    Sunday 17 November 2019

    11.30 start of tour, please get there 15min early

    The tour lasts 1 hour


    27 St James's Pl, St. James's, London SW1A 1NR


    NB We have a minimum requirement of 15 for this tour to take place! The max size of the group is 20