Page's home in Melbury Road, Kensington
The Tower House
The Tower HouseThe Tower House is a late-Victorian town house, built
between 1876 and 1878 in the 13th century French gothic style,
by the Victorian art-architect William Burges for himself. It is
located at 29 Melbury Road (formerly number 9) in Kensington, London
and is a Grade I listed building as of the 29th July 1949.
The part of Kensington in which the house is located, Holland Park,
had, by the 1870s, become a bohemian enclave of artists and architects,
led by the artist Lord Leighton, whose Leighton House, begun in 1866,
combined medieval and Moorish elements in a style with similarities
to Burges' own. Burges purchased the plot of land in 1875, the house
was substantially built by 1878, and the decoration of the interior,
together with the designing of innumerable items of furniture and
metalwork continued until Burges' early death in 1881.
Burges designed his home in the style of a substantial 13th century
French townhouse, "a model residence of the 13th century."
From 1875, although he continued to work on the completion of projects
already begun, notably those undertaken for John Crichton-Stuart 3rd
Marquess of Bute, Burges received no further major commissions, and the
construction, decoration and furnishing of the Tower House filled
much of the last six years of his life.
Both the exterior and the interior echo again and again the highlights
of Burges' earlier career, revised and re-worked as appropriate.
A frontage from the McConnochie House, a cylindrical tower and conical
roof from Castell Coch, fireplaces from Cardiff Castle,
Burges designed with "the experience of twenty years learning,
travelling and building. The house was to be the "synthesis of his
and a glittering tribute to his achievement". Upon completion, the
Tower House was sensationally received and its influence endured.
In the 1893 survey of architecture of the last half century, it "was
the only private town house to be included . The fireplaces Burges
constructed, which, unlike many of the fittings, remain, were a
particular tour-de-force, "veritable altars of art..some of the most
pieces of decoration Burges ever designed" . The Tower House stands
as "the most complete example of a medieval secular interior
produced by the Gothic Revival and the last, (representing) the ne plus
ultra of domestic Gothic" , described by William Lethaby as
"massive, learned, glittering, amazing".
The house is owned by Jimmy Page, ex-guitarist of Led Zeppelin and avid
Burges enthusiast. It is not open to the public.
Page bought Burges' London residence in 1972, commenting in an
interview some twenty eight years later "I was still finding things
20 years after being there - a little beetle on the wall or something
like that, it's Burges' attention to detail that is so
The house had previously been owned by the Irish actor, Richard
Page also own's Boleskine House, once owned by
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