This is the house that J M W Turner, one of this country’s (UK) greatest artists died in.
He spent his final years with the last love of his life and lived here in obscurity and with eccentric style.
119 Cheyne Walk was previously 6 Davis Place. It is next door to the taller Victorian terraced house which women’s rights campaigner Sylvia Pankhust would live in more than half a century later- Number 120 Cheyne Walk.
Sylvia was the more left-wing radical daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst- the founder and leader of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Sylvia lived in this house in Chelsea from 1906 to 1909.
Turner’s affair with Sophia Caroline Booth developed after her second husband had passed away and he moved in with her from 1846 at her charming little terraced house overlooking the River Thames to Battersea.
As the heavy traffic thunders past on the embankment to get to Westway, A40, A4 and M4 it is difficult to imagine perhaps that in the years Turner was living there the little house had a front garden which would lead to an almost country riverside scene of barges and rowing boats.
He called himself ‘Mr Booth’ or ‘Admiral Booth’ until his death from cholera on 19th December 1851 at the age of 76.
He would be buried in St Paul’s Cathedral close to the monument to fellow painter Sir Joshua Reynolds.
There is an account that his last words uttered in Chelsea were ‘The Sun (or Son?) is God.’
This may well be mythology.
Please be advised that following subscription if you need to log back in you will need to enter your registered email address, click on login and you will be sent a verification code to that email address. After entering the code you should have access to all the behind paywall pages at kulturapress.com