Monument: A House in Aspic

Juliet Gardiner continues our Monument series, welcoming the opening of Linley Sambourne’s house in London as one of the few city house museums to show us the habitat of the urban dweller and to satisfy our curiosity about the surroundings of people’s lives in the past.

Edward Linley Sambourne was a cartoonist who was ‘seized with an unconquerable longing to dry and draw anything and everybody I encountered’. He first contributed to Punch in 1867, mainly inscribing decorative initial letters for the political cartoons. His work was of such excellence that he came to draw more and more cartoons for Punch and in 1901 he replaced the renowned John Tenniel as the principal political cartoonist for the magazine.

The political cartoon, however, is no vehicle for artistic exuberance and this gift of Sambourne’s was to find full expression in his book illustrations and also in his wonderful house, 18 Stafford Terrace in Kensington, The house in which he lived from 1874 (when the Terrace was completed) until his death in 1910, is now open to the public, as it was sold by Sambourne’s descendant, the Countess of Rose, to the Greater London Council in 1979.

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