Wetherby Gardens is located within the centre of South Kensington, known for its large-roomed, white stuccoed, mid-Victorian terraced rows. However, the home I’ve recently researched, for sale with Farleys, stands out on the corner of Bina Gardens in a bold red brick, Queen Anne style. The house is unique for its notable architect, Colonel Edis, who also worked on the royal home at Sandringham and its first owner, Sir J.E. Boehm, favoured royal sculptor.
Houses began to be built up along Wetherby Gardens from the 1860s into the 1870s, with many homes in the mid-Victorian white stucco style. The homes were completed by a selection of builders, including the renowned Kensington builder, William Willett (who also came up with the idea for Daylight Saving and whose great great grandson is Chris Martin, lead singer from Coldplay). However, by the 1880s the taste in building design was beginning to change and when artist, Sir J.E. Boehm was looking for an architect for his new home, he chose Colonel R.W. Edis.
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Edis favoured the new Queen Anne Style which featured red brick with terracotta detailing, along with turrets, ornate brick work and stone decoration. Edis had in fact already designed Boehm’s country home in Surrey in 1881 and within two years had set about building him a London home along Wetherby Gardens. Boehm played an active role in the design and even contributed his own designs in the external features – the portico columns at the entrance of No.25 Wetherby Gardens feature sculptural design by Boehm. Drainage plans for the house also show that Boehm installed the latest plumbing fixtures by Thomas Crapper of Kings Road, Chelsea.
Colonel Edis was a prominent architect in Victorian Britain, so much so that he was chosen by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) to complete additions to his royal home at Sandringham. Edis was also responsible for the designs of many railway hotels, including the Grand Central Hotel, now the Landmark Hotel, in Marylebone. R.W. Edis was also heavily involved in the Artists’ Rifles volunteer rifle club, where he gained the rank of Colonel in 1883.
J.E. Boehm was a renowned sculptor, who received particular royal favour with over 40 royal commissions. He was created sculptor-in-ordinary to Queen Victoria in 1880 and created a baronet in 1889. He was also advisor to Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, with whom rumours circulated he was having an affair. Boehm was commissioned with a number of well-known sculptures, including Prime Minister, William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, along with artist, James McNeill Whistler and writer Thomas Carlyle. Boehm also completed the sculpture of the Duke of Wellington that sits at Hyde Park Corner.