Thursday, 10 June 2010

11 Chelsea Park Gardens, SW3

Chelsea Park Gardens is a hymn to the Queen Anne style as revived in the 1880s by such architects as Norman Shaw, but was actually built just before and just after the first world war so it was a bit retro even then.
Above the door of No 11 is this charming bas relief of two early religious recluses, dated 1938. St Anthony feeds the friendly pig who had originally been sent by the devil to persecute him but was won over by the saint's refusal to retaliate with violence. St Gertrude plays with her mice - apparently she was concerned for poor souls in purgatory who were often portrayed as mice (as a result, of course, St Gertrude is today the patron saint of cats).
I have been unable to discover why the stone was placed over the door, or who carved it. Was the house a Catholic retreat or something? All information gratefully received.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe this house once belonged to G D Hobson who was a Director of Sotheby's - he wrote many books on the history of bookbinding. His wife, Gertrude, died in 1938, while his son, Anthony, who also worked for Sotheby's, managed their book sales after his father died in 1949. Hope this is of some help. Yrs, Paul