A private town garden, part of the C17 Lindsey House. Redesigned by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll as part of a major refurbishment of the site for Sir Hugh Lane in 1909.
Lindsey House, one of the old 'palaces' of Chelsea (The Graphic 1910), was built for the Court physician Sir Theodore de Mayerne and reached the zenith of its fame as the home of Robert, Earl of Lindsey, Lord Great Chamberlain to Charles II. In 1750 the house was acquired by Count Zinzendorf for a Moravian settlement and twenty years later was subdivided into five dwellings; these became three in the C19. In c 1909 the then tenant of 99/100 Cheyne Walk, Sir Hugh Lane, founder of the Dublin Art Gallery, set about the restoration of the house and garden. He appointed the architect Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) to redesign the garden and parts of the house. Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) provided the planting plan for the garden. In 1983 the then tenant found the skeleton of Lutyens' design surviving beneath several years of neglect. Arabella Lennox-Boyd was appointed to assist in reinstating the rear garden, adapting it where necessary to the tenant's needs (Lennox-Boyd 1990).
The property, which is now (1999) owned by the National Trust, continues to be used as a private residence.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
100 Cheyne Walk is situated on the north bank of the River Thames c 200m to the west of Battersea Bridge. Chelsea town lies c 1km to the north-east, Battersea town c 1km across the River Thames to the south, and Brompton Cemetery (qv) c 1.5km to the west. The 0.25ha level rectangular site is bounded by the buildings of St George's Hostel to the north, and Cheyne Walk to the south. The houses and gardens of 98 and 101 Cheyne Walk provide the east and west boundaries respectively. The site is enclosed within tall brick walls to the north of the house and iron railings set on low brick walls to the south.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The site is approached from Cheyne Walk to the south. The main entrance, to the south-west, is guarded by an iron gate which leads onto a paved path of York stone and so into the house. The gates were replaced after 1910; a stone block above the gates bore the date of 1674 (The Graphic 1910). The back garden is accessed from the rear of the house.
The house which is now (1999) known as 100 Cheyne Walk is part of Lindsey House which in total comprises nos 96 to 101 Cheyne Walk. Lindsey House was originally built, or more likely remodelled from an older building, c 1674 for Robert Bertie, third Earl of Lindsey (Cherry and Pevsner 1991). In 1752 Lindsey House was acquired by Count Zinzendorf as the headquarters of the Moravian community in England. Major alterations were made at this time by the Moravian architect Sigismund von Gersdorf. After the Count's death in 1760 the house was sold and by 1775 had been divided up into five units. The architect George Devey added the three-window splayed bay and the covered entrance to no 100 in 1890. A major restoration of the house was undertaken in c 1909 by Messrs Lenygon for Sir Hugh Lane. Edwin Lutyens was the architect for alterations to the north-east, including a rear extension to house kitchen offices.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
To the front of the house the small, almost square garden is laid mainly to grass. The main entrance to the south-west is matched by a single gate to the north-east from which a flagged path leads to a service entrance. The hawthorn tree which overhangs this entrance was reported as mature in 1910 (The Graphic). A raised brick border alongside the southern boundary is planted out with box hedges and shrubs. A well-established magnolia is supported by the south-facing elevation and a mature flowering cherry tree stands in the centre of the grass.
The garden to the rear of the house is accessed from two points; a small door to the north-east leads onto a stone-paved area, the site of the kitchen offices designed by Lutyens, where narrow stone steps lead up to the main part of the garden. To the south-west the garden is accessed from the large sash window which opens onto a tiled area - identified as the Court on Lutyens' original design. From here the main part of the garden is accessed by a flight of four wider stone steps which lead up to and then under Lutyens' simple stone colonnade which marks the division between house and garden. The courtyard is separated from the site of the kitchen offices by yew hedges planted as part of the late C20 refurbishment, and is decorated by earthenware planters filled with evergreen plants.
The rectangular main garden is divided by two stone paths, the central area between them filled with lawn decorated with apsidal ends. In the centre of the grass is a circle of low clipped box which grows in Lutyens' lily pond. The pond, dry by 1985, has been filled with soil and planted with box to create a raised circle of green. To the west of the dry pond is a mulberry tree. This gnarled and twisted tree, described as of noble growth when the early C20 garden was made (Lennox-Boyd 1990), grows through the stone paving of the path and leans at an angle over the clipped box. On the outer side of the paths the narrow grass strips of the Lutyens' design have been curtailed. The resulting small recesses created at the end of the garden are contained within yew hedges which replicate the yew screen to the east of the courtyard. The recesses are furnished with wooden seats and decorated with terracotta pots. The boundary wall to the rear of the garden is decorated with two brick niches ornamented with classical pediments, flanking brick columns, and statue bases. The statues which formerly stood on the bases have been replaced by representations of monkeys made from moss and wire and covered in ivy. Under the rear wall to the north-east the area is decorated with a geometrical pattern of dwarf box filled with a variety of plants. A tall lime tree stands to the west of the niches and a small cherry to the east; of a third tree, shown centrally placed between the two niches on Lutyens' plan, there is no sign. Between the outer grass strips and the boundary walls are two narrow stone paths, the eastern one separated from the grass by a flower border.
The Graphic, (23 July 1910), p 138
LCC, Survey of London IV, (1913), pp 35-41
L Weaver, Houses and Gardens by Sir Edwin Lutyens (1925), pp 295-6
J Brown, Gardens of a Golden Afternoon (1985), pp 184-5
A Lennox-Boyd, Private Gardens of London (1990), pp 55-9
B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 3 North West (1991), p 577
E Lutyens, 100 Cheyne Walk, Plan of the Gardens, 1909 (in Weaver 1925)
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1865, published 1867
2nd edition surveyed 1895, published 1897
Description written: November 1999
Amended: March 2000
Register Inspector: LCH
Edited: January 2002