4 Grosvenor Gardens was Pitt-Rivers' home in the Belgravia area of central London after 1880. Like most rich people in Victorian England he would spend several months a year in London and other months at his country estate. Pitt-Rivers inherited this property at the same time as Rushmore in 1880. It presumably was already furnished and therefore most items in the house were already in situ by 1880. Grosvenor Gardens was described in 1878 as

At the bottom of Grosvenor Place, and reaching to Buckingham Palace Road, is a large triangular piece of ground, intersected by a part of Ebury Street, and covered with lofty and handsomely constructed houses, known respectively as Grosvenor Gardens and Belgrave Mansions. On the east side of this triangular plot is Arabella Row, one side of which is occupied by the royal stables of Buckingham Palace, which we have already described. [Edward Walford, 1878 'Old and New London: volume 5

Not many rooms are identified in the catalogue of the second collection held by Cambridge University Library as being the location for artefacts. There must have been many more rooms in the property (for instance, no items in bedrooms are listed). In addition, Pitt-Rivers already owned properties in London and may have transferred in furniture and ornaments for those houses.

1. Breakfast Room

A total of seven objects are identified as being located in the breakfast room. They consist of six bronze vessels from Cyprus, and a head of Maria Theresa from Belgium.

2. Coin Cabinets

22 objects are listed as being in the coin cabinets. Note that there were also coin cabinets at Rushmore. Unsurprisingly they are all coins.

3. Dining Room

Only 3 objects are listed in this room. They are a Japanese incense burner, and a pair of pottery vases.

4. Drawing Room

There are a large number of objects listed in this room (169). They include busts, a human vertebrae with an arrow stuck in it, pottery vessels, Egyptian antiquities, Japanese sword mounts, insect figures, netsuke figures, Venetian and Roman glass, Etruscan antiquities, Burmese priest figures, a stone tool described as the ‘finest known example of an implement’ of Palaeolithic type. It also included a group of gold and enamel objects which were later transferred to the pedestal case at Rushmore. They originally formed part of the Pitt-Rivers’ display at the South Kensington Museum, but had been removed before the founding collection was moved to Oxford.

5. Hall

Only three objects were located in the Hall, two helmets and a suit of armour.

6. Library

59 objects were located in the Library, significantly more than were found in the Library at Rushmore. They include Egyptian antiquities, a bronze vessel, bronze figures, portraits obtained in Germany, household goods and clothing from Austria, Indian bronze lamp, antiquities from Cyprus, neck ornaments from Africa, India and Australia, beads from many countries and times, large model canoes, and a portrait of Robert Burns.

7. Lift Room

The largest group of objects are listed as being located in this room (442 objects). It included weapons (around half of all the objects in this room), stone tools, ornaments, and assorted antiquities from Egypt and Rome. It is not clear what function the lift room served (other than being a vestibule for some form of lift, presumably!), though it appears to be the main storage area for artefacts in Grosvenor Gardens.

8. Office

The second largest group of objects, numbering 262 objects, was located in the office. There is a large Zulu ethnographic collection, Cypriot and Egyptian antiquities, locks and keys, weapons and tools, ornaments, material collected by Pitt-Rivers in Austria and Germany, and assorted material from London sales and auctions and obtained from colleagues like Richard Burton.

9. Study

Only 7 objects were located in the study, all daggers.

1444 objects known to have been located at some time in Grosvenor Gardens do not have a specific room identified for them within the property.

AP, August 2010.

Bibliography for this article

For the Walford quote please see here.

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