The Art of Ownership – Glebe Place, Pugachev, Sickert & Tolstoy

The Art of Ownership – 53 and 54 Glebe Place Chelsea, London, SW3 5JB and Pugachev, Sickert and Tolstoy – Double artist’s studio in Chelsea that has been home to a fugitive billionaire oligarch, a Tolstoy and a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper slashed in price by 25%; it is now subject to a forced sale – Offered for sale by Savills for £6.95 million down from £8.975 million.

Double artist’s studio in Glebe Place, Chelsea that has been home to a fugitive billionaire oligarch, a Tolstoy and a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper slashed in price by 25%; it is now subject to a forced sale

  • House in Glebe Place, Chelsea, SW3 created from two artist’s studios reduced in price from just under £9 million to £6.95 million as part of a sale forced by authorities.
  • It was home to the now in exile fugitive billionaire Sergei Pugachev and his ex-partner Alexandra Tolstoy from 2009.
  • Previous occupants include the artist Sir William Rothenstein and before him his fellow artist friend Walter Sickert – a man the author Patricia Cornwell spent £6 million trying to prove to be the serial killer Jack the Ripper.
  • Alexandra Tolstoy bleated to the ‘Mail Online’ about how she’d been “evicted” from the house 12 days before the coronavirus lockdown in May; her most recent Instagram posts, however, suggest she is still in residence along with her children.

German born artist Walter Sickert RA (1860 – 1942) took a great interest in the gruesome crimes of Jack the Ripper. He believed he had lodged in a room used by the serial killer and from the 1970s onwards, authors and historians including Patricia Cornwell have suggested he could have been the murderer himself (or possibly his accomplice).


For a time, Sickert – whom counted the newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook (1879 – 1964) amongst his closest friends and a man lauded by some as “the greatest British painter between Turner and Bacon” – lived in an artist’s studio at 53 Glebe Place in Chelsea and in 1894, a fellow artist, Sir William Rothenstein (1872 – 1945), took the property over. According to Wendy Baron, in her 2012 study of The Camden Town Group in Context for the Tate, the latter was “ever amazed by Sickert’s ‘taste for the dingy lodging-house atmosphere,’ and his ‘genius for discovering the dreariest house and most forbidding rooms in which to work.’”


More recently, in 2009, the now fugitive oligarch Sergei Pugachev – a man nicknamed ‘Putin’s Banker’ (until the one-time billionaire and the President spectacularly fell out) – rented 53 Glebe Place along with his then partner Alexandra Tolstoy. The house was subsequently purchased by a trust in 2010 and in 2011, the adjoining house, 54 Glebe Place, was bought and the two combined to become Pugachev and Tolstoy’s London residence.


The resulting 3,868 square foot single family residence – which includes 3 reception rooms, 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and an interior by designers from Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler described as “exuberant” by House & Garden – features a 57-foot south facing façade and ceiling heights of upto 22-feet. In total, it is believed the price paid for the two properties was around £8.325 million prior to subsequent renovations.


In the years that followed, 53 and 54 Glebe Place have become part of the legal tussle between the Russian government, Sergei Pugachev, his ex-wife Galina Arkhipova, his father Victor Pugachev and his Instagram loving ex-partner Alexandra Tolstoy. With Pugachev Jr. in exile in France, Ms Tolstoy has remained in residence but in 2019, the courts decided the house would have to be sold. It was placed on the market through Savills for £8.975 million.


With Ms Tolstoy subsequently ludicrously claiming at one point she could not live on £10,000 per week or without two drivers and a live-in doctor and then more recently featuring in an hour long BBC documentary in May titled The Countess and the Russian Billionaire, the sordid saga has become very public. Now, this week, the house has been relaunched for just £6.95 million again through Savills.


Whilst a single studio house featured in The Steeple Times in September 2015 was marketed for the seemingly sky-high sum of £5.45 million (it sold in March 2020 for just £4.5 million), even the now reduced figure for the combined 53 and 54 Glebe Place still seems very punchy. On that basis, we imagine, Alexandra Tolstoy may be able to stay there for some time still yet; as she herself once remarked: “We’re just surviving.”


Pictured top: 53 and 54 Glebe Place (left) were bought for a combined sum of around £8.325 million in 2010 and 2011. The resulting house – for which Savills states “steps are currently being taken to obtain the necessary statutory consents” for combination – is now on the market for just £6.95 million; Fugitive oligarch Sergei Pugachev (top right) and socialite ‘adventurer’ Alexandra Tolstoy (bottom right).


The house in question – 53 and 54 Glebe Place, Chelsea, London, SW3 5JB, United Kingdom.
Sick Dick? Walter Sickert photographed in 1911 by George Beresford (top left); ‘Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom’ painted by Sickert in 1906 – 1907, the oil on canvas was bequeathed by Mrs Mary Cicely Tatlock to the Manchester Art Gallery in 1980 (top right); The setting for the painting and the home of Walter Sickert, 6 Mornington Crescent, Camden, NW1 now has a Greater London Council blue plaque commemorating the painter and etcher’s residence there.
In 2017, best-selling author Patricia Cornwell claimed she had spent over £5.6 million “proving” that Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper.
Old Battersea House, 30 Vicarage Crescent, Battersea, London, SW11 3LD, United Kingdom is another house that Pugachev and Tolstoy plainly purchased at a crazy price. They paid £12.5 million and it is now for sale for just £9.975 million. The house was previously owned by the late billionaire publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes.

The Names & Numbers – 53 and 54 Glebe Place, Chelsea, London, SW3 5JB, United Kingdom


June 2020 – The combined house is relaunched for sale at a reduced price of £6.95 million ($8.62 million, €7.69 million or درهم31.66 million) by Savills, a discount of 23% on the previous asking price.

May 2020 – Alexandra Tolstoy claimed she had “been evicted from her multi-million home with only 12 days notice during the coronavirus outbreak” in comments to the Mail Online. Posts in June 2020, however, indicate her still to be in residence at Glebe Place with her children.

January 2020 – The Evening Standard reported that Galina Arkhipova “lost her bid to win a share” of the Glebe Place property. Chief Master Marsh dismissed Arkhipova’s claim on the basis of her “casual approach” to “complying with a court order requiring her to make full disclosure of her bank statements and access to legal documents, as well as her ‘unexplained failure’ to attend the latest hearing or instruct lawyers.”

2019 – Placed for sale for £8.975 million ($11.134 million, €9.929 million or درهم40.890 million) through Savills after the order of the courts.

October 2018 – At a “commercial court hearing, the judge, Master Price, made an order compelling the sale of Pugachev’s London home” according to the Guardian. A deadline was set for Ms Tolstoy to move out of January 2019 and at this time also, Pugachev’s former wife, Galina Arkhipova, “said she was also laying claim to the Glebe Place property, arguing that the house was a matrimonial asset.”

February 2016 – In absentia, Sergei Pugachev is found guilty of contempt at the high court in London and sentenced to two years in prison. The “convenient dissident” was described as someone who “could not be trusted” and subsequently, a warrant for his arrest was issued. To this day, Mr Pugachev has positioned himself as an innocent man and a “victim of Putin’s revenge.”

March 2012 – Mr Pugachev changed the locks at Glebe Place and “refused to let [Ms Tolstoy] back in. Pugachev subsequently visited Count Nikolai Tolstoy, the father of Alexandra Tolstoy, and explained that the Glebe Place house was controlled by a trust and that “he had bought Old Battersea House in a trust for Ms Tolstoy and the children… Old Battersea House was to be the family home and he and Ms Tolstoy were going to live there with the children.”

December 2011 – Old Battersea House is purchased for £12.5 million ($15.5 million, €13.8 million or درهم56.9 million) supposedly in a trust to benefit Alexandra Tolstoy and her three children with Sergei Pugachev. That house was subsequently offered for sale in 2017 for £12 million ($14.8 million, €13.3 million or درهم54.7 million) and is now on the market for just £9.975 million ($12.370 million, €11.031 million or درهم45.429 million) through Savills in June 2020.

July 2011 – Assuming the legal document figures to be exact, the total paid to purchase 53 and 54 Glebe Place was £8.325 million ($10.324 million, €9.208 million or درهم37.915 million).

July 2011 – 54 Glebe Place is purchased for a sum undisclosed on Land Registry Records through a trust. The two houses are subsequently merged as one. At around this time, Victor Pugachev “provided another loan of £4.2 million ($5.2 million, €4.6 million or درهم19.1 million) to Redflame as a loan” for the purchase. Legal documents state: “Later accounting documents show the lender as Mr Pugachev and include a loan agreement executed by Mr Pugachev and Redflame.”

July 2010 – 53 Glebe Place is purchased for a sum undisclosed on Land Registry Records through a trust, the ownership deed reportedly being in the names of Sergei Pugachev and Victor Pugachev (his father, as “beneficiary and Protector”). At around this time, Victor Pugachev “provided £4.125 million ($5.115 million, €4.562 million or درهم18.788 million) to Redflame as a loan” for the purchase.

2009 – Sergei Pugachev and Alexandra Tolstoy rented 53 Glebe Place as their London home.

July 2009 – 54 Glebe is sold for £2.55 million ($3.16 million, €2.82 million or درهم11.61 million) according to the Land Registry.

January 2005 – 54 Glebe is sold for £2.175 million ($2.698 million, €2.405 million or درهم9.906 million) according to the Land Registry.

March 2001 – 54 Glebe is sold for £1.8 million ($2.2 million, €2 million or درهم8.2 million) according to the Land Registry.

March 1995 – 54 Glebe is sold for £900,000 ($1.1 million, €995,000 or درهم4.1 million) acording to the Land Registry.

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  1. Alexandra Tolstoy came across as a spoilt cow in the BBC documentary. She bled that poor guy and he does not even now see his kids. She was happy to have the luxury, but has been a coward since the moment the problems with Putin put her in a position of having a little less luxury. Pathetic woman!

  2. Patricia Cornwell’s stupid theories about Walter Sickert are just that… STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She ought to go back to being a waitress as she herself suggested in a documentary!!!!!!!!! Don’t send the Sheila Down Under —– I’ll take the Tolstoy as a bit of fun however!!!!!!!!!!!! She looks in need of taking in hand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Disgusting wealth in the case of the recent ones. Plundered from the poor no doubt.

    As for Sickert, he was evil. Have you seen the only filmed footage of him as an elderly man? Those eyes! Looks like Hannibal Lecter!

  4. The only joy in this for poor old Sergei Pugachev must be that he made a fool of Alexandra Tolstoy live on telly – She was well and truly spunked!


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