Spirit & Speed

Chelsea studio house built for “spiritual artist” Arild Rosenkrantz and later home to the extremely eccentric lesbian heiress and powerboater ‘Joe’ Carstairs for sale for £8.95 million


“Spiritual seeker” and artist Baron Arild Rosenkrantz (1870 – 1964) was born in Denmark, studied in Rome and married his Scottish cousin, Louise Mackenzie, in 1901. His commissions included ceiling panels at Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair and illustrating the Danish edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery Adventure and now a Chelsea home built for him is for sale for £8.95 million ($11.5 million, €10.6 million or درهم42.4 million).


Designed by the Maidenhead based architect Clifton Robert Davy (1879 – 1929) and Grade II listed since 1997, red brick built, 4-storey 5 Mulberry Walk is described as being of a “stripped Classical Mannerist style”. It features the artist’s initials on the rectangular profile downpipe and was his home from when it was finished until 1922.


Baron Arild Rosenkrantz and one of his works
Marion ‘Joe Carstairs’ once remarked: “I was never a little girl. I came out of the womb queer”; of her biographer Kate Summerscale added: “She was blithe, bold, courageous, unself-conscious, imperialist, impervious to social change”


Subsequently sold to the eccentric and extremely masculine heiress Marion Barbara ‘Joe’ Carstairs (1900 – 1993) for £3,000 in the early 1920s (the equivalent of just £167,000, $215,000, €197,000 or درهم791,000 today), 5 Mulberry Walk became the party venue for the “fastest, artiest, gayest, not to mention the most alcoholic and drug-addicted set in London at the time”. Carstairs – a lesbian described as “usually dressed as a man, having tattooed arms, and loving machines, adventure and speed” – remained there well into the 1930s and even had a name plaque for a doll she was obsessed with, ‘Lord Tod Wadley’, placed on the building’s door.


Extending to 3,163 square foot in total, 5 Mulberry Walk is currently divided into two apartments. The first, a ground floor studio with a 32-foot wide garden, has 1 bedroom whilst the second covers three floors and has 4 bedrooms. Each has a large artist’s studio space and in total there are 2 kitchens, 3 bathrooms and a roof terrace as well.


5 Mulberry Walk, which is most definitely ready for modernisation and reconfiguration internally, is offered by Russell Simpson.


View Comments

  • A little bit of a racy past for a pensioner like me but the light and space is wonderful.

  • Much could be done with it but how flexible are the authorities with regard to internal alterations?

  • At £2830 psf + renovation costs, it is not too bad a price. It should be worth £3100 psf once done up so price would be around £9.8m. I think that reasonable and achievable even in this post Brexit market when £10m properties are really struggling to sell.

  • The exterior has the look of something that belongs in the Gulag. I really don't like it.

  • No doubt you will claim Rolf Harris abused children here. You people are all sick and twisted and Rolf is innocent.

  • I am surprised Rod hasn't appeared with his wrecking ball. Totally ridiculously overpriced given it needs at least a million quid spent on it.

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