Part of a programme of events created by the charity, Open City, the aim is to make London and its architecture more open and accessible to all, with hundreds of buildings welcoming the public for visits and tours.
One of those buildings will be 38 Grosvenor Square. For the first time ever, this incredible space will be part of Open House London 2021, throwing open its doors so visitors can have a look around one of the most wonderful examples of Georgian architecture in the UK.
Built in 1727 and transformed in 1776 by John Johnson for the Duke of Dorset, this is one of three original town houses in Grosvenor Square. Behind closed doors, the building has seen significant changes in recent years and the partnership with Open House London means that visitors can now delight in the surroundings, whilst taking in the incredible architecture – ‘Adamesque’ (a neoclassical style of interior design and architecture made famous by Scottish architect, William Adam and his sons), at its finest. Visitors will also be able to see the infusion of Indonesian design lovingly developed by its most recent occupant – the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.
During the Open House Festival, David Thompson, qualified Blue Badge guide, City of London Guide and magazine designer will be showing visitors around – offering a 50-minute tour to help point out the heritage and history of one of Mayfair’s most decadent secrets. The will be able to peek into the four main event rooms and have a look at the wonderful private courtyard and elegant staircase as well as original features – like the incredible ceiling artwork featuring Juno and Jupiter (Juno, the myth goes, was the Roman goddess of marriage home and family, a champion of women, protector of the Roman state and married to Jupiter, king of all the gods).
This wonderful town house was part of the development of 51 terraced houses around Grosvenor Square and was commissioned by Sir Richard Grosvenor in the 18th Century. Not intended as a principle residence, it was utilised as a convenient location for well-to-do families to participate in conventions of the London season. It almost sounds like a plot from one of Jane Austen’s novels. Providing accommodation during social calendar events – the property was also the venue for musical soirées, dancing, gaming nights and the place where many formal (and perhaps a few informal) introductions were made for those who were on the hunt for an eligible heir or heiress to add to the family crest.
Just think of the comings and goings back when opulence and protocol, fashion and intrigue ruled the day. Imagine the impossibly glamourous parties, the sound of clinking glasses and gentle laughter – you can almost sense the whispers of secrets being shared, promises made and broken, familial ties secured, friendships established and engagements sealed.
As it was then, Mayfair has always been world class and welcoming – so this is a unique chance for visitors to escape from the hustle of the city and experience 38 Grosvenor Square in Mayfair during Open House London before slipping away to enjoy some up-to- date Mayfair living – at their leisure, of course.
For more information on this and other Open House Festival 2021 tours, click here