This picture taken not by me, but by Jamie Barras. Built, as Barras tells us, for Sir Frank Lowe, advertising magus, and completed in 1987. The sheer ridiculousness of the facade! With its plaques, statues, ivies, metalwork, pink and green. And with a date on the gutter hopper, as became popular in the twentieth century, reading. . . 1723! It would not be out of place at Portmeirion.
Nobody is about, except two georgeously posh old mums twittering a few doors up. The light is not much good, even at midday or so. In the entrance-way, just next to the large filigree-worked double doors, on the left hand side, this, most preposterously of all:
Which either is, or very much resembles, a painting of Sir Frank himself, done in a pastiche Flemish-Renaissance style. I mean, isn't it? Heavy lids, generous nose, broad brow, the rest one can put down to a couple of decades and artistic licence. Only the painter has made him crueller and more calculative.
The possibility remains that Lowe simply found an old burgher who resembled him, but I doubt it. There is a delight, after endless walking in the grit and grime of the suburbs northeast of the City, where there are yet pleasures in the efflorescences of penniless artistic statement, and in the fragments of the old ekeing amid the new and broken, in all the undone, there is a delight here, in Chelsea, in the decadent prettiness of it all, the comfort and the devil-may-care, in good money spent idiosyncratically if not well.