19 St. John's Wood Road

Emily Storey (née Hayward); George Adolphus Storey

George and Emily Storey in the garden, 1883

For some artists, it is not so much the appearance, but the location, of the house that matters. This was true of George Adolphus Storey, one of the less famous—though still successful—artists featured in J. P. Mayall’s Artists at Home. The studio home he lived in during 1883, although not lavish, was the setting for his photographic portrait.

Storey lived at 19 St. John’s Wood Road during the heyday of the St. John’s Wood Clique, of which he was a founding member in 1851. He had lived at his parents’ home, 12 Marlborough Place, until 1861, with his brother, William, and two sisters; in 1865 he moved to another part of St. John’s Wood, 2 Elgin Road. Scandalously, in 1871, he moved away from the neighborhood to Hammersmith, where he lived with his “wife,” Frances Gray Storey, a woman ten years younger than he, along with their four-year-old son, Robert Oliver Storey, at 25 Bridge Road.[1] Though never officially married, Storey and Frances evidently separated in the late 1870’s, when Storey moved back to St. John’s Wood Road without Frances or his son.[2]

From 1877, Storey resided in a house known as 8 Grove End Place, NW8, until 1870, when the street was renamed St. John’s Wood Road and all the houses were renumbered. One of the previous residents of the house that would become 19 St. John’s Wood Road was the portrait painter John Lucas, who had taken a lease in 1851.[3] Lucas had previously inhabited 22 St. John’s Wood Road, next to Sir Edwin Landseer’s impressive studio house,[4] but when his sitters complained about the tiring drive to the studio, Lucas leased space in town, in Newman and Duchess Streets, and rented out the St. John’s Wood studio; when he returned to the neighborhood in 1851 he could not reclaim the house from its tenants, so he built 8 Grove End Place.[5] From 1868 to 1872 it was owned by the artist Sir W. Q. Orchardson, R.A.,[6] followed by Heywood Hardy, who lived there until 1877, when Storey moved in. The house was Italianate in style.[7]

At his new home in St. John’s Wood, Storey lived among many fellow artists. His next-door neighbor was John Pettie, and Phil Morris lived down the road. But Storey did not stay in this house forever: in 1885, he relocated to 39 Broadhurst Gardens in West Hampstead,[8] where he remained until his death in 1919.

Michelle Malmberg

 

[1] “George Adolphus Storey,” 1871 London Census Records, UKCensus Online.

[2] "George A Storey," 1881 London Census Records, UKCensus Online.

[3] Giles Walkley, Artists’ Houses in London 1764–1914 (Aldershot, Hants, England; Brookfield, VT: Scholar Press, 1994), 235.

[4] Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, s.v. “Lucas, John (1807-1874),” by Morna O’Neill, Oxford University Press, 2004, online edition May 2011. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/17132

[5] Walkley, Artists’ Houses, 121.

[6] Frank Milner and Edward Morris, “The Location of Artists’ Studios and Homes in St. John’s Wood in the 19th Century,” in "And When Did You Last See Your Father?" exhibition catalogue (Liverpool: Walker Art Gallery, 1992), 33.

[7] Walkley, Artists’ Houses, 235.

[8] Milner and Morris, "And When Did You Last See Your Father?” 33.

 

GEORGE ADOLPHUS STOREY, A.R.A.
19 St. John's Wood Road