Known for its unusually large walled garden, Fenton House is a 17th-century merchant house in Hampstead that was the last residence of Lady Binning, a niece of George Salting whose vast art collection was left to the V&A, National Gallery and British Museum after his death in 1909. Lady Binning filled Fenton House with her own collection of artworks, which included a surprising collection of paintings, precious needlework, European and Eastern china and Georgian furniture. In it, you can see portraits of Dorothea Jordan, William IV and George IV, amongst others. The House includes the Peter Barkworth Collection, which features work by the Camden Town Group, a group of local English Post-Impressionist painters. The ceramics collection includes Chinese porcelain from the Kangxi period, 18th century Meissen figures and Staffordshire ware.
After her death in 1952, Lady Binning donated the House and its collection to the National Trust, after which it was supplemented with a collection of early keyboard instruments called the Benton Fletcher Collection. Throughout the week you can listen to these instruments being played by international musicians. On Wednesdays the House offers musical tours in which music and art come together.
There is always something to see, hear, do or smell at Fenton House. The garden holds a wonderful collection of plants, and is always good for some unusual sights and scents. Its adjacent orchard is 300 years old. It grows 32 different varieties of apples and pears and borders on the kitchen garden. Each September the House organizes Apple Day, during which you can visit the orchard and taste its produce.
Don’t forget to take your trip upstairs and see the amazing view from the House’s balcony, one of the best in London!
Fenton House is a member of the London Shh trail.