Guests of Lord Lansdowne

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Lord Lansdowne was not only a patron of artists, he was also a true friend to the literary men of his day. "He did not," it was said, "extend a haughty or condescending patronage to men of talent or genius. He claimed brotherhood with them." And further,

"The guests at Lansdowne House were so selected that the host took care that all should share in the conversation, and when they were reassembled in the drawing room, he would adroitly coax them into groups, or devote himself for a minute or two carelessly and without effort to the most retiring or least known."

After the style of Macaulay's sketch of Holland House, Hayward spoke of Lansdowne House: "There is the dinner table at which Rogers, placed between Hallam and Macaulay, complained that they wrangled and fought over him, as if I was a dead body': at which, in precisely similar circumstances, the great French historian and statesman, Thiers, fell asleep. There are the grim grey statues, looking down from their niches on the recumbent figure (by Canova) in white marble that gave rise to the somewhat hazardous joke of Payne Knight, which the Marquis did not repeat till the ladies had withdrawn. It was in the doorway of that concert room that the brilliant and fastidious Frenchman (Montalembert) uttered his now celebrated saying, 'You English cling to your established beauties as you stand by your old institutions'; and it was in the adjoining saloon that Madame de StaŽl, after a consultation with her host as to the best position for attracting notice, took her premeditated stand."

When speaking of the library, which was added in 1790, Fox used to say that he always liked it, it was so vast, so retired, and he always liked the idea of a large room in the midst of a great city.

Lansdowne House is the most significant mansion in Berkeley Square, although some of the smaller houses more than equal it in terms of the fame of their former occupiers.

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