Hampstead and the Arts
A spa town in the early 1700s, Hampstead has long been associated with artists. The peaceful and intellectual atmosphere, the location close to the West End of London and the particular beauty of Hampstead Heath, continue to draw many artists to the area.
Below is a selection of 10 famous creative figures who lived in Hampstead at different periods:
1. John Keats
The Romantic poet lived in a house on Keats Grove (now the Keats Museum) from 1818 to 1820. It is there that he wrote the famous "Ode to a Nightingale" and became engaged to Fanny Brawne, who lived with her family in the adjacent house.
2. John Constable
The painter and his wife Maria first moved to Hampstead in 1819 in a house on Well Walk, hoping that Hampstead air would ease her tuberculosis. Several of his paintings of the Heath can be seen at Tate Britain. The artist died in 1837 and is buried in Hampstead parish churchyard next to his wife and six of their seven children.
3. Du Maurier family
The author of Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier, moved to Cannon Cottage after marrying Frederick Browning in 1932 and lived there for two years. Her father, the actor Gerald and grandfather George are both buried in St John-at-Hampstead. The Llewellyn Davies family whose boys, cousins of Daphne du Maurier, inspired J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan is also buried at the same location.
4. P. L Travers
An Hampstead resident and the author of Mary Poppins, Travers was inspired by the character who lived in the Admiral's House on Admiral's walk and by this house when he created the Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins adapted by Walt Disney in 1964 into a musical film .
5. Roland Penrose and Lee Miller
After moving to 21 Downshire Hill, in 1935, artist Penrose started to organize the first London International Surrealist Exhibition (1936) with poet David Gascoyne, sculptor Henry Moore and artist Ben Nicholson. Photographer and model Lee Miller joined him in 1939.
6. Sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore
Barbara Hepworth moved to Parkhill Road in Hampstead with her husband John Skeaping in 1928 and she remained there until 1939. Moore lived on the same street. He left Hampstead in 1940 when his home was damaged by a bomb and moved to Perry Green in Hertfordshire.
7. Sir Edward Elgar
The composer lived at 42 Netherhall Gardens in the Severn House. It was there that he composed Falstaff.
8. Richard Burton
The actor lived at 6 Lyndhurst Road from 1949 to 1956 with his first wife, the actress Sybil Williams.
9. Dame Agatha Christie
The author lived in the Isokon building on Lawn Road during the Second World War.
10. Ernö Goldfinger
The Hungarian-born Modernist architect who designed the Trellick Tower built his family home at 2 Willow road (see photograph on top). According to some sources, Ian Fleming named the James Bond adversary and villain Auric Goldfinger after Ernő.
You can read our blog on Freud and Hampstead here
The exhibition of photographs "Hampstead's Village People: Portraits of Cultural icons" can be seen at Fenton House until 29 june 2014.
Contact us for any event around Hampstead and the Arts.