Spencer House

A private guided tour of the magnificent State Rooms, followed by optional lunch.

From the announcement in the Winter Newsleter :

Spencer House at 27 St. James’s Place is a mansion in St James’s, London, and is the property of the Earl Spencer. The house was commissioned by John, 1st Earl Spencer, in 1756, requiring a large townhouse to cement his position and status. The architect he chose was John Vardy who had studied under William Kent. Vardy is responsible for the facades of the mansion that we see today. In 1758 James ‘Athenian’ Stuart who had studied the arcadian values of Ancient Greek architecture replaced Vardy as the architect of the project; as a direct result of this Spencer House was to have Greek details in the internal decoration, and thus it became one of the first examples in London of the neoclassical style, which was to sweep the country.

As the home of successive Earls and Countesses Spencer the state rooms of the house became a theatre for the pageant that was London high society. The Spencer family lived at the mansion continuously until 1895, when the house was let. The Spencers returned for a brief while in the first quarter of the 20th century; then again the house was let, at various times as either a club or offices. During the Blitz of World War II it was stripped of its few remaining authentic treasures, specially made furniture, and fireplaces.

The house was recently restored, and key pieces of furniture returned to their original locations, along with paintings in the State Rooms borrowed from the Royal Collection, the Royal Academy and Tate. Spencer House remains in the ownership of The Earl Spencer, the current titleholder being Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Together with Lancaster House, Bridgwater House, Dudley House and Apsley House, Spencer House is one of the last of the many private palaces which once adorned central London.