A Narrative of the Time of Nero
The 20th century redevelopment of the leafy Holland Estate has provided London with some of its most sumptuous neo Georgian homes. The style pendulum is in full swing, from Queen Anne meets Lutyens to Queen Mary meets Colonial. Lime tree lined Ilchester Place is firmly in the earlier more academic camp. Completed in 1928, these mainly terraced houses were designed by the Scottish born architect Leonard Martin who lived in a rambling Georgian house which he extended in matching style in Cobham.
There are enough spider’s web fanlights, half moon pediments and squiggly topped blind windows not to mention Dutch gables to make the Irish Georgian Society feel quite at home at Ilchester Place. Just as well, as it was the setting of the London Chapter’s Summer Party. The distinguished hosts were Oric and Julia L’Vov Basirov. Oric is an Anglo Russian archaeologist, historian and Iranologist. His wife Julia is a picture restorer and V+A guide. This locale is steeped in art history, ever since Lord Leighton established his ‘private palace of art’ on Holland Park Road in the late 19th century.
Sir David Davies, President of the Irish Georgian Society, spoke. Restorer of Abbey Leix House under the guidance of architect John O’Connell, founding Chairman of the Irish Heritage Trust, Harvard alumnus and banker Sir David announced the recipients of recent Irish Georgian Society grants. “Stradbally Hall near my home,” he stated, “is really a ruin. There’s so much work to be done there. We are funding repairs to the chimneystacks.” There was more good news, “We are opening a Chapter in Waterford. We are opening a Chapter in Dallas.” He explained, “I am only the fourth President. My aim is to gather together the different threads of the Irish Georgian Society.” Catering was by Butlers with a capital B. Many of Kensington resident Celia Butler’s staff are artists.