William Cleverly Alexander 1840-1916
William Cleverly Alexander 1840-1916

"Front Door of 11 Kensington Square" (I)

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I.)  Pencil, pen and  wash on paper, 24 cm x 14 cm. Inscribed lower right "Kensington Square 24/4 190(?8)". Unframed and unmounted. SOLD

11 Kensington Square

 

With its richly carved projecting hood, the front door of 11 Kensington Square is a rare and well-preserved architectural survival from circa 1700 located just south of Kensington High Street in London W8.

The two sketches come from a collection of architectural drawings by the banker, art collector and accomplished draughtsman William Cleverly Alexander (1840-1916).  

In both drawings, Alexander has paid close attention to the door hood's exuberant foliate scrollwork and the carving of its supporting console brackets. The hood is truncated on the left by a screen wall separating the house from buildings in Thackeray Street. The traceried fanlight above the door survives to this day, although it has now lost some of its decorative glazing bars.

William Cleverly Alexander was a local resident, having bought Aubrey House in nearby Holland Park in 1873.

Drawing I is inscribed and dated 190(?8). The two versions appear not to be contemporary. The distinctive door knocker in Drawing II is absent from Drawing I, which shows a bell push absent from Drawing II. The lightly-delineated stucco window architraves in Drawing II date it to the end of the 19th century or later as the stucco architraves are believed to have been added to the house only in the late 1870s or early 1880s. 

Alexander  was an early admirer of the work of James McNeill Whistler, from whom he famously commissioned portraits of his daughters Cicely, May and Grace. In 1908 Alexander published 21 plates of his own architectural sketches spanning twenty-five years or so under the title "Drawings of Old London", several of them focusing on doorways in the spirit of the present works.

 

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING 

  • Survey of London, Vol. 42, "Kensington Square to Earl's Court", 1986, pp. 16-29

  • William Cleverly Alexander, Drawings of Old London, n.p.,1908

 

William Cleverly Alexander 1840-1916
William Cleverly Alexander 1840-1916

"Front Door of 11 Kensington Square" (II)

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II.)  Pencil, pen and wash on laid paper, 24 cm x 18 cm. Unframed and unmounted. SOLD

Click on image for larger size​