Nairn’s London #19
THEN: Shaw built very many houses in London, and all bar this one have their inventions vitiated by a cold-hearted manipulation and unconcern whether the artful counterchanges of surface had any feeling in them. This one is quite different – easy and unpretentious, growing naturally and informally at the owner’s convenience. Prettily tile-hung, windows at all angles and of all shapes, yet underneath is a keen eye for the relation of all those apparent accidents. Appropriately enough, it was built for Kate Greenaway.
NOW: I’ll admit this one is a little lost on me. Like most of the houses in Hampstead, it’s of substantial size. And will of course be worth a chunk. But the hanging tiles and aysmmetrical windows aren’t to my taste. I don’t see the underlying keen eye that Nairn saw, I see a bit of a jumble sale. I’m not familiar with Kate Greenaway – but I imagine I’d feel warmer to her illustrative style than her house. Either way, I’d do anything for her artists studio on the top floor though.