A Blank Canvas

Chelsea “studio with living rooms” built for Augustus John and later owned by Dame Grace Fields DBE available to rent


Though the Pembrokeshire born artist, bohemian and pacifist Augustus John (1878 – 1961) was best known for his portraits of Lawrence of Arabia and Dylan Thomas, he is also said to have fathered as many as 100 children over the course of his life. A Grade II listed “Dutch farmhouse-style” studio he built and occupied for twenty years in Chelsea, London is currently available to rent.


This vast studio room is the most impressive feature of 28 Mallord Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 6U


Built in 1913 to 1914 from designs by a Dutch architect named Robert van ’t Hoff and Grade II listed, 28 Mallord Street cost an estimated £2,200 to build (the equivalent of £233,000, $291,000, €272,000 or درهم1.1 million today). It includes features influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and was described by Augustus John as “my new studio with living rooms” on completion. He lived there until 1934 and though initially delighted by the building’s “solidity and tautness”, ultimately termed it “this damned Dutch shanty” and moved to a new, purpose-built ferro-concrete at Fryern Court in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.


Owned by the thrice married actress and singer Dame Gracie Fields OBE (1898 – 1979) – who described it as “feeling like home” and “a love nest” – in the 1930s and sold for £5.4 million in 2009 (the equivalent of £6.6 million, $8.2 million, €7.7 million or درهم30.2 million today). 28 Mallord Street is now available to rent for £9,500 per week ($11,800, €11,100 or درهم43,500 per week) or £494,000 per year ($616,000, €576,000 or درهم2.3 million per year) through Aylesford International.


Augustus John OM, RA was celebrated for brilliant figure drawings, and for a new technique of oil sketching; his work was often favourably compared with Gauguin and Matisse
A Blue Plaque commemorating the artist was installed on the building in 1981
28 Mallord Street in 1981
Actress and singer Dame Gracie Fields OBE took up occupancy of the building soon after Augustus John sold it


Expanded to provide 5,109 square foot of accommodation over five levels, the house is dominated by a 38’3” by 25’2” studio reception room with a ceiling height of 18’4” and also includes upto 6 bedrooms, 2 kitchens and a temperature controlled wine cellar with Hermès wallpaper.


Aylesford describe 28 Mallord Street as “a true family home, the ultimate blank canvas and ideal for any art collector”. They offer it on an unfurnished basis.


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  1. Other than the hall flooring, I love it. An amazing space and as the agent rightly says – a great blank canvas. Some colourful artworks in place and you’d have a most stunning home. I love it.

  2. For once I like your choice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No wrecking ball here!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. A truly well researched article. You’ve added a lot of detail to the newsletter I got from Aylesford about this house this week. I really like it and would say it is perfect as a space not only to display art but also to entertain. I am sure and hope a family make it their home.


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