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Research & insight article

Artists' studios that stop traffic

Written by previous Chestertons historian, Melanie Backe-Hansen

My latest research has taken me to a home that I have personally always wondered about. At last I had an opportunity to investigate the history of one of the iconic artists’ studios situated along Talgarth Road in London, formerly known as St Paul’s Studios, Colet Gardens.

Exterior Talgarth Road Studio

Talgarth Road Studios

The studios were designed by Frederick Wheeler for art publisher James Fairless and were completed in 1891. The studios were designed for bachelor artists and were immediately snapped up with all studios taken by 1892. The particular studio I researched was formerly known as No.5 St Paul’s Studios and was home to a number of prominent artists.

Firstly, it was the home of Inglis Sheldon-Williams, who was a forerunner of today’s photo journalist, illustrating from the Boer War and World War I. From 1903 No.5 St Paul’s Studios was home to celebrated artist, William Logsdail, who was mostly remembered for his scenes of London, including ‘St Martin-in-the-Fields’ now in the Tate Collection.

St Martin in the Fields - William Logsdail

St Martin-in-the-Fields by William Logsdail

William Logsdail remained in the house until the 1920s when it became the home of another well-known artist, George Kruger Gray. Kruger Gray is most remembered for his heraldic designs, in particular on coins for Britain and many Commonwealth nations, as well as his designs for stained glass windows.

For a short time in 1949 and 1950 No.5 St Paul’s Studios was the home of playwright and author, Ernest Gebler, who wrote a number of books and plays, including ‘Hoffman’ made into a film with Peter Sellers and ‘The Voyage of the Mayflower’ made into a film with Spencer Tracy.

Artist's studio

Large studio room

The Studios along Talgarth Road are some of the most intriguing buildings to be seen, but when walking through the door it is nice to see that the intrigue doesn’t stop there and these uniquely designed homes offer a beautiful artistic living space in Central London.

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