“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

George Chinnery’s Final London Studio Before He Sailed East, 1802

Posted: November 22nd, 2016 | No Comments »

I was looking through some George Chinnery prints the other day – Chinnery of course being by far the best western painter to have recorded Macao, Hong Kong and the Canton Factories in the early to mid-1800s, prior to photography. I won’t go on as I’m sure Chinnery needs no introduction to regular readers of this blog. However, I read that prior to leaving England (after a spell in Dublin) for India and eventually Macao and the Far East, Chinnery’s London studio was at 20 Lower Brook Street. That address is now simply 20 Brook Street in Mayfair, just of New bond Street. Here is it today, though I suspect the top floor is a more recent addition and probably wasn’t there when Chinnery was there around 1802. It was a handy location anyway being close to the Royal Academy on Piccadilly where Chinnery, like his peer Turner, was submitting portraits for exhibition.

20 Brook Street (obviously the white building) was completed around 1737, making it early Georgian and not untypical of what was being constructed across the Mayfair district. The building is safely listed with English Heritage, who support my theory about the top floor claiming that work was done to alter the property in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The shop frontage on the ground floor only dates from the late 1960s. Since its construction the property had an artistic flavour – No.20 was the residence of the painter Sir William Beechey between 1787-88.

 

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