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National Trust, Carlyle's House

Photo credit: Spudgun67, CC BY-SA 4.0 (source: Wikimedia Commons)

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Carlyle’s House at 24 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, was the home of Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), and his wife Jane Baillie Welsh (1801–1866), for over 30 years. In 1895, the freehold of the house was bought by public subscription and the Carlyle’s Memorial Trust was set up to administer it; in 1936 the Trustees transferred it to the National Trust. The house is immortalised in the painting ‘A Chelsea Interior’ by Robert Tait, also a pioneering photographer, who exhibited it with this title at the Royal Academy in 1858, even though many would have recognised the celebrity couple and their dog ‘Nero’. The painting was bought by William Bingham Baring (1799–1864), 2nd Baron Ashburton, the husband of one of Carlyle’s greatest female admirers, Louise Stewart-Mackenzie, Lady Ashburton. It was subsequently acquired by the National Trust from the 7th Marquess of Northampton in 1998 with the help of the Art Fund and an anonymous benefactor. The other pictures are chiefly portraits, such as ‘Frederick II (1712–1786), “The Great”, King of Prussia’, which relates to Thomas Carlyle’s epic biography ‘Frederick the Great’ (1858–1865). It was bought by Mrs Carlyle the day before her death but bequeathed by Thomas to the Honourable Mary Florence Baring, the only child of the Ashburtons, and wife of the 5th Marquess of Northampton. It was bought in 1929 by the book dealer Gabriel Wells (1862–1946) and given to the Trust by him.

24 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London, Greater London SW3 5HL England

020 7352 7087

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