Monday 2 August 2010

Ferguson House, 15 Marylebone Road NW1

This self-effacing 1957 office block stands on the site of one of Charles Dickens's favourite houses which he occupied from 1839 to 1851.
A huge panel sculpted by Estcourt J Clack (known as Jim) commemorates some of the characters the great man created there.
Top left is Jacob Marley appearing unto Scrooge in the form of a door knocker in A Christmas Carol.
Next is Barnaby Rudge and his raven Grip. Dickens actually had a pet raven called Grip at the house - when it died he had him stuffed and mounted.
Top right are Little Nell and her pathetic grandfather from The Old Curiosity Shop, above Paul Dombey (another inadequate parent) and his daughter Florence from Dombey and Son.
One of my favourite characters, midwife and 'layer-out' Sairey Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit is to the middle right and Mr Micawber with David Copperfield is at the bottom.


Hels said...

I love the sculpted panel and approve of the characters that Clack decided to include. But why oh why did they pull down the Dickens house and build an office block there? Was there any outcry in the mid 1950s?

Chris Partridge said...

The area went down a lot in the 20th century, and was seen as a business zone after the war. 1 Devonshire Terrace was in poor condition but there were protests:

Anonymous said...

Was this also the site where Cheiro lived. It was then called Devonshire Lodge?

Chris Partridge said...

That's interesting - I don't know if it was called Devonshire Lodge. Do you have any other indications of where Cheiro's house was?

JC52 said...

A belated thanks for posting this item. I found this post by accident whilst trawling the internet for unknown photos of my Dad's work. Interestingly you may not know that the panel was originally in an alcove on the corner of the building presumably to help protect the artwork from the weather. The stone used for the carving is Bath Stone, much loved by my father since it was soft and easy to carve and rendered fine detail, it was all carved in situ in 1960.

Michael Green said...

I recently found a reference to Devonshire Lodge, 15 Marylebone Road, as the address of the painter and costume designer Percy Anderson, at the time of his death in 1928. I am researching a much earlier period, when Anderson's salon in Queen Anne's Gate was a popular gathering place for musicians and other creatives, but any information about his later years would be of interest.