London’s Spencer House is an 18th Century Palladian Villa that you may have walked past, unaware of the grandeur within. It’s lucky enough to be situated on the edge of Green Park, and close to St James Palace. In its day it was a social and political hub.
Two architects were responsible for the design of the house: John Vardy (who built the building and completed the ground floor) and James “Athenian” Stewart (who showcased a more Greek influence on the upper floor). Both put a classical stamp on the building, which has references to some iconic Roman sites, including the Temple of Venus and Roma, Nero’s Domus Aurea, the Temple of Portunus, and even Herculaneum which was discovered during this building’s construction.
Photos were only allowed in one room, the Palm Room, but this gives you an idea of the quality of the workmanship. There’s a few nods to ancient Rome here, including original mosaics in a side table, and a room frieze based on that of the Temple of Portunus in the Forum Boarium. And There’s a nod to Greece as Hesiod and Homer grace the marble fireplace.
Access is via St James’ Place, close to St James’ Palace.