Walsh Porter

The flamboyant Walsh Porter a close companion and advisor to the equally flamboyant Prince of Wales often entertained the Prince at his cottage orne' Craven Cottage in Fulham. The fantastic cottage was decorated in a sort of combination travelogue and 'walk through the ages' style. Each room was decorated in a totally different fashion, meant to amaze and entertain. The main hall of Craven Cottage was in the Egyptian style, the dining room was Gothic, the Chapel was painted in imitation of the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey, and "several other apartments were fitted up in the style of different foreign countries" according to T. C. Croker in "A Walk from London to Fulham."

Craven Cottage was considered the most attractive example of cottage architecture for some years after it was built for Lord Craven, William Craven the 6th Baron Craven, in 1780. The cottage stood on 8 Thames side acres in Fulham. Walsh Porter, the picture dealer and decorator, enlarged the cottage in 1805 and added Egyptian interiors by Thomas Hopper. In 1888, it was destroyed by fire. Its name was retained by the later Football Ground on the site.

Walsh Porter composed music and wrote a comic opera called "The Chimney Corner." His theatrical connections with set designers, fabricators, and painters were useful in carrying out his decorating fantasies. His interest in the exotic influenced the Prince in his decorating choices. The Gothic dining room designed by John Nash was added to Carlton House after the Prince saw Porter's Gothic dining room at Craven Cottage. Porter was also involved in the redecoration of the Saloon at Carlton House in the Etruscan style. He added touches to the Brighton Pavilion. Porter, an art dealer and collector in his own right, served as one of the Prince's councilors in his art purchases. After his death in 1809, Walsh Porter's fine art collection was auctioned at Christie's on 14 April 1810. Christie's "A Catalogue of the Magnificent Collection of Italian, French, Flemish and Dutch Pictures, the Genuine and Sole Property of the Late Walsh Porter, Esq.,..." lists 52 lots to be auctioned. His art collection included such choice paintings as Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon by Claude Lorrain, 1680, which passed to his brother-in-law William Scrope on Porter's death.


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