Victorian London - Buildings, Monuments and Museums - Bridgewater House

BRIDGEWATER HOUSE, ST. JAMES'S, fronts the Green Park, and was built 1847-50, from the designs of Charles Barry, R.A., for Francis, Earl of Ellesmere, great nephew, and principal heir of Francis Egerton, Duke of Bridgewater. The duke, dying in 1803, left his picture, valued at 150,000l. to his nephew, the first Duke of Sutherland, (then Marquis of Stafford), with remainder to the marquis's second son, Francis, now Earl of Ellesmere. The collection contains 47 of the finest of the Orleans pictures; and consists of 127 Italian, Spanish, and French pictures; 158 Flemish, Dutch and German pictures; and 33 English and German pictures - some 317 in all. This is independent of 150 original drawings by the three Caraci, and 80 by Giulio Romano, bought in 1836 by the Earl of Ellesmere, form the Lawrence Collection.

source: Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

BRIDGEWATER HOUSE, Cleveland-row, with a fine frontage towards the Green-park, is remarkable for the Bridgewater collection of pictures, a portion of the gallery of the first Duke of Sutherland. The Bridgewater estates and pictures became the property of the Egerton family on the death of the duke in 1833. Of the Bridgewater House collection Mrs. Jameson says that it has had the most favourable and the most refining influence on the public taste of all the private collections.

source: Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879


Cleveland Row, by the Green Park, is one of the pleasantest situations in all London for a town house, and here, at the western end, is Bridgewater House, the Earl of Ellesmere's mansion. This house, of which Sir Charles Barry was architect, was built in 1847-50, and it is nearly square. The whole of the first floor on the north side is given up to the display of pictures, of which there is no finer private collection in London. It was formed by the Duke of Bridgewater, who died in 1803, and the treasures even then were valued at £150,000. Some of the best pictures -  Raphael's Madonna and Child, Titian's Holy Family, Palma Vecchio's Three Periods of Life, for example - are not shown to strangers but many masterpieces may he inspected by those who have been able to obtain influential introduction

source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896