No. 44 Berkeley Square

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INTERIOR DESIGN

No. 44, the house next to No. 45, was built by Kent and finished in 1745 for Lady Isabella Finch, Maid of Honour to Princess Amelia, aunt of George III, and the staircase was considered so fine by Walpole that he makes a special mention of it:

"The staircase at Lady Isabella Finch's in Berkeley Square is as beautiful a piece of scenery, and considering the space, of art, as can be imagined."

Walpole, who was a frequent visitor here, had ample opportunities of judging its merits, and by the beginning of the 20th century it was still clear that his eulogium was in no way exaggerated; it was truly a magnificent bit of work, beautifully proportioned and gracefully decorated.

On the first floor landing was a small room masked by a glass screen, which Godfrey Clark, the owner around the beginning of the 20th century, said was traditionally known as Lady Betty's hiding place, from where the said Lady Betty (whose identity seems to coincide with that of Lady Betty Finch, who married Murray, to the satisfaction of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu) used to watch the arrival of guests.

The ceiling in the principal drawing room was the work of Zucchi, and is painted in compartments en grisaille in the most elaborate and effective way; around the walls are mirrors and satin panels encased in a very original manner by frames formed of small hexagonal pieces of looking glass said to be similar to one at Versailles.

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