Royal Geographical Society

Lowther Lodge

Pencil drawing of the front and side elevations for Lowther Lodge

Architect: Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912)
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections

This is one of four drawings the RIBA Drawings and Archives Collections holds for Lowther Lodge. They show the house as built except for a few details, but they do not show the service wing and stables, which were built to the east of the house.

There are a further nine surviving drawings for the house, including preliminary designs at the Royal Academy and contract drawings at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS).

Queen Anne Style

Shaw's design is an excellent example of the Queen Anne Style with its asymmetrical elevations and red brick decorative work. It also uses characteristic long narrow windows, towering chimney stacks, pilaster strips alluded to in the brickwork, and tall pedimented gables which are decorated with sunflowers.

The sunflower became a very popular motif associated with the Queen Anne style. It can be seen several times on the exterior of Lowther Lodge, but it is also used internally, for example in the wall frieze of the principal ground floor rooms.

The house followed a fairly traditional Victorian house plan: kitchen and service rooms in the basement reception rooms on ground floor, main bedrooms on first floor, and the nursery and bedrooms for female servants on the second floor.

Shaw’s contribution to South Kensington

When Lowther Lodge was built Kensington was almost fully developed, although the adjacent sites to the house were still empty. Surprisingly, it was Shaw himself who filled the site to the west with a very large overpowering building, his Albert Hall Mansions (1879-86). Shaw was very active in the area, notably designing four houses in Queensgate: no. 170 Queensgate (now the Rector's House of Imperial College), nos. 180 and 185 now both demolished, and no. 196.