18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home


18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, W8 7BH


Mon–Fri 020-7602 3316, Sat–Sun 020-7938 1295



Opening times:

Open for guided tours only. Wed 11:15, 14:15, Sat-Sun 11:15, 13:00, 14:15, 15:30

How to get there:

Tube: High Street Kensington

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

No disabled access. Shop

No. 18 Stafford Terrace is the very carefully preserved Victorian and Edwardian family home of the Sambourne family. Edward Linley Sambourne (1845–1910), chief political cartoonist of Punch, known to his wide circle of friends and acquaintances as Linley, or Lin, bought the house in 1875, four years after securing a staff job on the top satirical magazine, having spent four contributing as a freelancer. The year before he had inherited from his artistic aunt, a great encourager of his drawing talent, the modest private income that allowed him to marry Marion Herapath, a match that her family, living in Phillimore Gardens nearby, considered disappointing. A year later, their first child was born: Maud, later Maud Messel, and mistress of Nyman’s in the Sussex Weald, with its fabulous gardens. Their son Roy (b. 1878) later inherited this house.

In 1901, Sambourne was promoted to ‘First Cartoon’, having established a reputation as an illustrator of books, including Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1886), and completed what he always considered his masterwork, which can be seen here, a large and intricately designed Diploma card for the International Exhibition of Fisheries (1883). Around the same time he developed a passion for photography, eventually converting his bathroom into a dark room and his attic into a studio. On Marion’s death in 1914, Roy Sambourne took possession of the house, and dedicated his life to pleasure with such single-mindedness that on his death in 1946 he left the property to his sister largely unaltered. She encouraged her daughter Anne, later Countess of Rosse, to use it as her London home. It was here, in 1958, along with Sir John Betjeman and Sir Hugh Casson, that Lady Rosse and her husband founded the Victorian Society, to champion the then-unfashionable arts and crafts of the period. In 1980 she sold the house and its contents to the Greater London Council. Pictures, works of art and furniture are arranged much as the family left them, the whole ensemble giving a vivid, almost uncanny insight into a successful artistic household from the turn of the last century.

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Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.


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18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home
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