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41-42 and 43 Hay's Mews

A Grade II Listed Building in City of Westminster, London

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Latitude: 51.5089 / 51°30'32"N

Longitude: -0.1471 / 0°8'49"W

OS Eastings: 528683

OS Northings: 180512

OS Grid: TQ286805

Mapcode National: GBR CF.48

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.DBLM

Plus Code: 9C3XGV53+H5

Entry Name: 41-42 and 43 Hay's Mews

Listing Date: 25 February 2021

Last Amended: 18 February 2022

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1474784

ID on this website: 101474784

Location: Mayfair, Westminster, London, W1J

County: London

District: City of Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: West End

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Tagged with: House


House, formed of mid-C19 (No 43) and 1900 (No 41-42) mews houses, the latter built to designs by T H Smith. 43 Hay's Mews was remodelled in 1937 by Oliver Hill, and again in about 1954 by John Fowler. 41-2 Hay's Mews was amalgamated with 43 and remodelled in 1986, when a large reception room was created by Renzo Mongiardino.


House, formed of mid-C19 (No 43) and 1900 (No 41-42) mews houses, the latter built to designs by T H Smith. 43 Hay's Mews was remodelled in 1937 by Oliver Hill, and again in about 1954 by John Fowler. 41-2 Hay's Mews was amalgamated with 43 and remodelled in 1986, when a large reception room was created by Renzo Mongiardino.


MATERIALS: brick construction, rendered to front elevation with slate roofs and timber doors and double-hung sliding sash windows to the front; side-hung casement windows to the internal courtyard.

PLAN: the building has a C-shaped plan arranged around a central courtyard adjoining 41-42 Hay’s Mews. It is two storeys high with pitched roofs and a mansard with attic to the south-west. The front range faces north-east onto Hay’s Mews and contains an entrance hall, stair, service rooms and a dining room. The north-west range is principally occupied by Fowler’s large, partially double-height drawing room which has an apsidal end to the south, behind which is an elliptical stair in an enclosed, top-lit well. The south-west range contains the stair hall and a small reception room with a third, back, stair. On the first floor are bedrooms to the north-east and south-west, separated by the courtyard and double-height drawing room, and accessed from separate stairs. The north-east range gives access to a terrace overlooking the courtyard. One of the bedrooms here was originally decorated by Fowler as a dining room.

EXTERIOR: the front elevation is of white-painted render; the first floor has five eight-over-eight sash windows and the ground floor has two pairs of half-glazed carriage doors to the left and a single pair to the right. Between are two doorways, one round-headed with a six-panel door, the other square-headed and half-glazed, set within a stepped stucco architrave. There is a small high-level window between. The render is a later addition and the stepped architrave suggests a date in the 1930s; the door itself is possibly contemporary. The garage doors to the left date from the mid-1980s, their detailing based on the earlier door to the right.

The interior of the courtyard is painted pale pink with flat, white-painted stucco dressings. The south-west elevation has a pedimented parapet with a mansard roof behind, clad in black glazed pantiles. Ground floor openings are round-headed French windows with glazing bars and first-floor windows are paired casements with glazing bars. The north-west and south-west elevations are the work of Oliver Hill, with the north-east and south-east elevations continued in the same style in subsequent phases (about 1954 and 1986 respectively).

INTERIOR: the following description focusses on the areas of greatest interest: the interiors created by John Fowler for Joan Dennis in the mid-1950s and notes later alterations where known. Most of these rooms are based on an underlying plan laid out in 1937 by Oliver Hill.

The centrepiece of the interior is the drawing room. Approximately a double square in plan, the half to the north is double-height, lit along the east side by high windows and pairs of French windows opening onto the courtyard. The north end wall has a classical chimneypiece of grey and white marble flanked by false bookcases with architraves and pedimented heads; that to the left has a radiator set at the base with a trellis-work screen, and that to the right is a pair of doors leading to a vestibule with a built-in kitchenette behind panelled doors. A modillion cornice runs around the ceiling of the double-height space and a frieze runs at first floor height. Above the frieze are plaster swags and corbel brackets. The space is lit from above by a gilt chandelier. The southern half of the room is more intimate, with a conventional ceiling height and an apsidal end lined with recessed display shelves and bookcases divided by pairs of pilasters. The skirting board is painted with a marble effect. Opposing pairs of panelled double doors have painted timber swags above. The walls are painted in a light blue-grey, not the original Fowler shade.

The drawing room leads to the principal stair hall with a black marble floor laid with narrow steel strips and a marble effect skirting board. The stair sweeps up to the right, around the rear of the drawing room. The walls are covered in block-printed paper. The stair is lit from above by an C18 style glazed cupola and leads to an elliptical landing on the first floor. The landing has a simple black metal balustrade with slender stick balusters and shaped newel with brass acorn finial. The balustrade follows the curve of the stair and is reflected in a full-height fixed mirror at the head of the stair.

On the other side of the stair hall from the drawing room is a small sitting room, painted in pink, with marbled skirting boards and coved cornice. Above a slim plaster dado frieze the walls have a dark paper border. A painted wooden chimneypiece with fixed mirror above is set within a recess; this does not serve an actual chimney but originally held an electric heater in the shape of a coal grate. A hidden door leads to a small back stair to the dressing room above. The three-panel doors and chimneypiece are painted in shades of white and grey with a dark paper boarder within the panels.

On the first floor is the bedroom Fowler decorated for Dennis. This has another simple wooden chimneypiece and block printed paper in the same pattern but different shade to the one chosen by Fowler. A paper border runs around the room and continues in the wooden box pelmets over the windows. Off the bedroom to one side is a dressing room and to the other an ensuite bathroom with an oculus overlooking the upper part of the drawing room.

The two attic rooms are reached from a secondary stair behind the elliptical landing; these are decoratively very simple, with plain built-in cupboards and on with a later bathroom suite added.

The north-west range, to the front of the building, contains a lobby off the main entrance hall. This has a stair to the first floor with a balustrade and newel matching that on the south-west stair. The room Fowler decorated as a dining room for Dennis is at the end of the first-floor landing, entered through double doors with curvilinear panelling. Surviving from Fowler’s scheme is the stone chimneypiece with cast iron fire-back, and the marbled skirting boards. Built-in cupboards, one later knocked through to create an entrance to 41-42 Hay's Mews, are later additions, presumed to be by Colefax and Fowler. All have marbled architraves and double doors with curvilinear panels.

Internal doors are generally in a consistent style, with two or three panels and small brass handles and radiators are generally either boxed in beneath windows or have bespoke wooden radiator covers.

41-42 HAY’S MEWS

MATERIALS: red brick construction with white-painted dressings. The roofs are of slate, doors and windows are timber.

PLAN: the building is of two-storeys over a lit basement. Situated on the corner of Hay’s Mews, it has a deep rectangular footprint with a C-shaped configuration of pitched roofs and flat roofs to the centre.

The east range is mainly occupied by garaging, service rooms and two stairs whereas to the west the plan is almost fully occupied by the large, tripartite reception room created by Mongiardino. On the first floor there are bedrooms and a self-contained flat.

EXTERIOR: the exterior has an eclectic late Victorian style: red brick, banded and dressed with painted stone, the windows are mullion-and-transomed casements with multi-paned transom lights and deep window sills. First-floor windows are dormers with pediments.

The south-east elevation has two pairs of carriage doors with square-paned fanlights; these are separated by a full-height bay with shaped gable-end with pinnacles and bearing a datestone of 1900. There is also a doorway with fanlight over and several banks of grouped ground-floor/basement windows. The north elevation has a pinnacled gable-end parapet with central chimney stack, two panelled doors with rectangular fanlights and a run of windows at ground and first floors. The ground floor windows were inserted in about 1986, replacing an earlier carriage entrance.

INTERIOR: the principal interior space of interest is the large reception room to the west of the plan, created in about 1986 by Renzo Mongiardino. It is divided into three areas by pairs of opposing Corinthian columns and a dentilated cornice. The ceilings are painted with trompe-l’oeil coffering and the floor laid in a polished chequerboard of red/buff tiles. The walls are painted with trompe-l’oeil scenes of an abandoned Classical garden with statuary of mythological figures, and Classical doorcases grown-over with vegetation are painted around doors leading to other parts of the house.

At the south end is a fireplace, with stone Doric chimneypiece, and the north end wall is gently curved. Over the centre of the room is a large glazed cupola with a triglyph frieze; hung from the centre is an ovoid pendant lantern. On the east side is a wide alcove flanked by columns. The back wall of the alcove is painted with a perspective view of an allée with columns, cypress trees and statuary. Opposite the alcove are French windows opening out into the courtyard of 43 Hay’s Mews.

The interior of 41-42 Hay’s Mews beyond the Mongiardino room is varied in character and of lesser interest. More notable features include some which appear to originate with the 1900 building, such as the two stairs with turned balusters, some panelled doors, exposed roof trusses and the glazed bricks in the basement rooms.


Hay’s Mews was created as part of the Berkley Estate, laid out for building in about 1745-1750. Forming a T shape, the mews served the houses of Hill Street to the north-west, Charles Street to the south-east, and the houses on the south-west side of Berkeley Square to the north-east.

Into the middle of the 1820s there was a conventional mews arrangement behind the houses on the south side of Hill Street; that is, a terrace of houses to the front, gardens behind and a mews to the rear. By the early 1870s however, the mews and gardens of 5, 7 and 9 Hill Street had been replaced and infilled by what is now 43 Hay’s Mews, and a building with the footprint of what is now 41-42 Hay’s Mews. The latter, then numbered 45 and 45a, was rebuilt in 1900 to designs by T H Smith of Basinghall Street, London, for a new coach house and stables with living accommodation above. In the first decade of the C20 Hay’s Mews was predominantly occupied by stablemen, coachmen and increasingly, chauffeurs.

By the late 1980s, 41-2 and 43 Hay’s Mews had been converted to residential use and amalgamated to become a single house, with interventions by three important designers of the C20. Oliver Hill was responsible for the initial conversion of 43, his work partially overlaid by John Fowler’s internal remodelling; the house was subsequently expanded into the neighbouring building and a second grand reception room was created by Renzo Mongiardino. The building’s interest lies in sequential phases which legibly illustrate this transition.

43 HAY’S MEWS was occupied in the early C20, until at least 1929, by the chauffeur to Lord Powis, whose London home was 45 Berkeley Square. By 1937 the building had been sold and the rear ranges were being converted to a residence by Constance Paul, with the assistance of architect Oliver Hill.

Paul submitted proposals for alterations and a rear addition in 1937. The front range, to the north-east, containing a flat and garages, was to be left largely unaltered. The drawings submitted by Paul were prepared by Hill and superseded earlier unexecuted proposals submitted in 1936 by the practice Farmer and Dark. Approved drawings by Hill show proposals which largely coincide with what stands today (2021), taking account of the alterations known to have been subsequently made by John Fowler, and later the Heinzes. Distinctive features such as the pediment over the south-west range, the shape and form of the openings to the courtyard elevations, the black-tiled mansard roof, elliptical stair and apsidal drawing room with opposing fireplace, all originated with Hill.

Once the building work was complete, Eric Gill (1882-1940), to whom Paul was almost certainly introduced through Hill, undertook a mural in the drawing room with his son-in-law, Denis Tegetmeier. Gill worked in exchange for a workman’s wage and a week’s accommodation on site. His sketches for this piece, dated 1938 and held at the University of Texas, USA, depict a dancing male and female nude to be mounted over the fireplace in the drawing room. Imogen Taylor, assistant to John Fowler who remodelled the interior in 1954, recalls that the piece was covered over with the insertion of bookcases. This suggests the Gill piece was actually at the opposite end of the drawing room, and that it may still be in-situ, although at present neither of these assumptions can be verified.

Paul was still at 43 Hay’s Mews in the late 1940s, but in about 1954 it was bought by the actress Joan Dennis (1904-1982). Dennis appointed John Fowler of Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler Ltd to create a new interior scheme for the house. Dennis had already commissioned work from Fowler at several of her other homes and the two had become close friends. Under Fowler, the flat and garage in the western half of the front range were absorbed into the accommodation and circulation of the house, and the passage which gave access to the courtyard was enclosed to become an entrance hall. Fowler oversaw the partial removal of the drawing room ceiling to create the double-height space, and mouldings and architectural features were added under his direction. Typical of Fowler’s exacting eye, he is reported to have had all the drawing room frieze taken down after execution and put back three inches higher. The walls were painted grey-blue with details picked out in white. These details included plasterwork decoration thought to have originated in old Northumberland House (the London residence of the Dukes of Northumberland, demolished in 1876).

Throughout the house, a number of architectural features were introduced, such as chimney pieces, fitted joinery and mirrors and the balustrades of the two main stairs. Strong colours were used in the paints, papers, fabrics and carpets and the canvas-covered walls of the first-floor dining room were hand-painted by Fowler with a vine and trellis design which continued onto the ceiling (now overpainted or removed). Wall papers were block-printed designs from Mauny of Paris: flowers, birds and garlands in white and terracotta on a blue ground for the principal stair hall; a vine motif border in blue and grey on a black ground in the pink sitting room and yellow and white sprigs on a grey ground in Dennis’ bedroom. It is understood that the papers are standard Mauny patterns, coloured to Fowler’s specifications.

Fowler decorated many flats and town houses, but Hay’s Mews was 'a particular favourite of his' (Wood 2007, p 157), showing many of the features of his mature style. He considered the drawing room to be ‘almost perfect’ (Robinson 1984, p 49). The interior was featured in The Sketch in 1955 and House and Garden magazine in 1956.

The scheme was not long completed when Dennis sold the house to Mrs Drue Heinz and her husband, Henry J Heinz II, CEO of the H J Heinz Company. The Heinzes were so taken with 43 Hay’s Mews that they bought it with many of the contents in place and these remained in-situ, augmented by an extensive collection of art and antiques, until Drue Heinz’s death in 2018. The value Heinz placed on the house is revealed in her 1973 request for it to be considered for listing.

The interior scheme did not remain entirely unaltered however, at some point the Heinzes brought Colefax and Fowler back to the house. This second phase was executed under Imogen Taylor and it is believed that the colour of the drawing room walls was lightened at this time. Other changes of this date may include the renewal of the wallpaper in Dennis’ bedroom with a paper of the same pattern but different colourway and the addition of built-in cupboards in the dining room. The loss of Fowler’s hand-painted trellis and vine design from the walls came later.

In the mid-1980s, when the Heinzes were remodelling the neighbouring 41-42 Hay's Mews, the two garages in the front range of number 43 were finally incorporated into the living space of the house, providing a utility area and new dining room. The late-C20 up-and-over metal garage doors were replaced with timber doors to match the one surviving to the west. The first-floor terrace overlooking the courtyard was extended to the full width of the north east elevation and the stairs which led from the terrace to the courtyard were removed, replaced with a new set of French windows.

41-42 HAY’S MEWS was bought by the Heinzes in the 1980s with the intention of expanding the living accommodation at number 43 into this address. Since at least the mid-1930s the building had been associated with the motor trade and was operating as a car salesroom with accommodation above when the Heinzes took possession. Other than the replacement of a garage entrance to the north-east with a pair of windows, the exterior was left unaltered, while the interior was remodelled to designs by Tibbalds Partnership of Charing Cross Road. The Italian designer Renzo Mongiardino was brought in to create a large new reception room on the west side of the building. The Heinzes had previously employed Mongiardino to redecorate their New York townhouse in 1976.

The Mongiardino room was previously used for car storage, a long and narrow space with a low ceiling, enclosing the courtyard of 43 Hay’s Mews to the south-east, and lit by a lightwell. Aside from a new kitchen adjacent to the street, the space remained as a single large room but Mongiardino divided it visually into three areas with entablatures and columns. At one end he inserted a fireplace, at the other a curved end wall, and at the centre a large glazed cupola overhead, requiring the removal of the roof over this part of the building. The lightwell was ceiled over and a wide alcove created. The ceiling was painted with trompe l‘oeil octagonal coffering and walls were painted with trompe-l’oeil scenes of an abandoned Classical garden; these were painted on canvas by Irene Groudinski in Milan and shipped to London to be applied to the walls using the marouflage technique.

The scheme illustrates Mongiardino’s interest in theatre and illusion, as well as his approach to re-casting a difficult space through the manipulation of proportions, light and perspective. The room is one of a small number in his oeuvre to use trompe-l’oeil to bring the natural world inside; each of them, the others in Turin and Portofino, was created in collaboration with Groudinski. The inspiration for these schemes was the C17 frescos at Villa Falconieri, Frascati, in which one of the rooms is painted as a wooded grove. However, as Mongiardino said, ‘The light of London is not that of Rome’ (Mongiardino 2016, 203) so at Hay’s Mews he sought to evoke a more typically English landscape, which he studied from life. When his monograph, Roomscapes, was first published in 1993, it was the room at Hay’s Mews which Mongiardino chose for the front cover.

Other rooms within 41-42 may have been decorated under Mongiardino’s direction but his involvement beyond the painted room is unsubstantiated and none of the other rooms are of comparable ambition or interest.

JOHN BERESFORD FOWLER (1906-1977) was one of the most celebrated and influential interior decorators of the C20, renowned for his work in a number of grand country houses and later as adviser to the National Trust. Having set up a small firm on King’s Road, Chelsea in 1934, his work caught the eye of the established decorator and society figure, Sybil Colefax, Lady Colefax (1874-1950) and Fowler joined her firm in 1938. Fusing elements of European style from the late C17 to early C19, his work tapped into a revival of interest in Georgian architecture and design which had emerged during the 1920s. Fowler had a keen eye for historical detail, which lent his work authenticity, and his handling of colour, pattern and materials brought a freshness which captured the interest of a small circle of wealthy clients, generally drawn from the land-owning classes. Fowler coined his approach ‘humble elegance’, and by the late 1930s he was recognised as one of the country’s leading interior decorators.

Shortly after the war, the firm of Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler Ltd was purchased by American, Nancy Lancaster, who made Fowler a partner. Lancaster brought with her an extensive network of contacts, introducing Fowler to many fine houses, and wealthy clients, that were to result in big jobs for him. Their relationship was a notoriously turbulent one, but together they codified what became referred to as the English Country House Style. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s Fowler worked as an adviser to the National Trust; his work was highly influential in the UK and across the Atlantic, securing Colefax and Fowler’s place as the foremost English decorating firm of the C20.

LORENZO MONGIARDINO (1916-1998) was a Genoese set designer, architect and interior designer. He designed sets for Italian director and film producer, Franco Zeffirelli, and worked with the British director Peter Hall. Of equal importance was his work as an interior designer. Although he lived in Italy, his clients were drawn from a wealthy transnational elite with houses across Europe and the World. His interiors were often romantic and highly elaborate. Where necessary, he would start with an architectural manipulation of light, proportion and symmetry, before creating rich and often illusory elements of decoration drawn from historical, sometimes fantastical sources. He used the techniques of the stage-set to conjure an array of materials, textures and patterns from comparatively humble materials and paint effects.

Mongiardino’s clients were drawn from circles who valued privacy and his interiors were not widely published, but he is believed to have completed a total of five schemes in this country. Two were for Stanislaw and Lee Radziwill at 4 Buckingham Place, London, 1965, and Turville Grange, Oxfordshire, 1967, both schemes now lost; one was for Princess Firyal of Jordan at her Belgravia house, 1978-1979, the address is unknown, and during the same period he executed a major scheme at Daylesford House, Gloucestershire for Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza which has also been lost.

OLIVER HILL (1887-1968) began architectural practice in 1910 but is best known for his work of the 1920s and ‘30s. As well as buildings, Hill designed furniture, interiors and exhibitions and was committed to the integration of art and architecture, commissioning works by Eric Gill, Eric Ravilious and others. His architecture is stylistically diverse, but he is most closely associated with neo-Georgian and modern movement idioms, the latter which he helped popularise through major works such as the Midland Hotel, Morecambe, Lancashire (1933, listed Grade II*). He was a fashionable architect for the design or remodelling of London houses and flats, creating crisp neo-Georgian exteriors which could enclose opulent interiors.

While there are considerable differences between the design approach of Hill, Fowler and Mongiardino, their work at Hay’s Mews is connected by the common thread of classicism. As interior designers, Fowler and Mongiardino shared an essentially romantic and nostalgic outlook, concerned with the aesthetics of the past. It has been commented of Mongiardino that ‘His aesthetic suggested a more theatrical, highly emotional cousin of the “humble elegance” espoused by his English contemporary John Fowler’ (Architectural Digest, Jan 2000, 211). Their work represents a particular strand of interior decoration in the second half of the C20 which generally exists within the private, domestic spaces of clients drawn from a small, wealthy elite. It reflects a taste culture which developed largely independently of prevailing architectural trends, but there are synergies in the English context between Fowler and the unbroken classical tradition in architecture which endured after the war in the design of country houses. A slightly earlier example of this tradition is manifested at Hay’s Mews in the work of Hill.

DRUE HEINZ (1915-2018) was born in Norfolk as Doreen Mary English and married Jack Heinz in 1953. The couple shared a love of philanthropy and art. A socialite and renowned hostess, Drue Heinz was a committed patron of the arts in Britain and the US. She was the principal benefactor of literary journal, Antaeus, helped launch Ecco Press in 1971, endowed literary prizes and sat on the boards of numerous cultural institutions. A major contribution to the field of architectural history was funding the first gallery designed explicitly for the display of architectural drawings. The Heinz Gallery, as it was named, opened in 1972 at 21 Portman Square, London, housing the drawings collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

CONSTANCE V PAUL (1895-1983), Hill’s client at 43 Hay’s Mews, was an Australian artist, designer and filmmaker who came to England shortly after her marriage at the age of 19. She won a scholarship in the early 1920s to study at the Royal College of Art, during which time she spent a year studying architecture under Arthur Beresford Pite. After leaving the RCA, she worked as an architect and interior designer in London for 11 years, building up a firm which at one point employed over 50 workmen. Paul had become a great admirer of Hill during her time as a student and he took an interest in her work; together they collaborated on the conversion of 43 Hay’s Mews.

Reasons for Listing

41-42 and 43 Hay’s Mews, a house formed of converted mews houses with interventions by Oliver Hill, 1937; John Fowler, 1954-1955 and Renzo Mongiardino, 1986, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a house with interventions by three important designers, each phase illustrating different interpretations of classicism in the C20 and collectively reimagining two London mews houses;

* for its Fowler interiors, centring on the double-height drawing room, which remodel and aggrandise a compact courtyard mews house through an extensive scheme of interior design in his characteristic style;

* for its elaborate and fantastical Mongiardino scheme with extensive trompe-l'oeil decoration and a creative handling of volume and proportion, providing the house with a second grand reception space;

* for the interventions by Hill, which established key elements of the interior plan of number 43 and the classical language of the courtyard elevations, subsequently expanded through the interiors of Fowler and Mongiardino;

* for its street elevations, which preserve the character of the building's original form and type.

Historic interest:

* for a sequence of interventions which chart the social, cultural and economic transformation of the building, and more broadly reflect the ascending status of the London mews house in the C20 from stables and coach houses to prime London real estate;

* in the survival of an early post-war Fowler scheme recorded as being a personal favourite, executed for a friend and repeat client;

* in the survival of the Mongiardino scheme, one of very few English schemes by this internationally successful designer.

Group value:

* with neighbouring listed mews buildings 4, 40, 44, and 45 Hay’s Mews.

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