Edward Linley Sambourne was born in London in
1844. As a young boy he spent hours drawing and
At the age of 16 he enrolled in the Kensington
School of Art but found the tuition - mostly copying plaster casts
- very dull and left after a few months. He was then apprenticed to
a marine engineer in Greenwich and was soon promoted to a well-paid
job in the drawing office. He continued to sketch and amuse his
friends with humorous drawings whenever he had an
Linley Sambourne started on his 43-year career
with Punch magazine (see Linley Sambourne's career)
At the age of 30, Sambourne married Marion
Herapath, the daughter of a wealthy stockbroker.
Helped by Marion's father, the couple paid
£2,000 for a lease of 89 years on 18 Stafford Terrace and set about
furnishing it in the fashionable artistic or 'aesthetic' style of
the period. It was their home throughout their 36-year
Maud Sambourne was born in 1875. She was a
good little girl and grew up to be very pretty. She was devoted to
Roy Sambourne was born in 1878. Roy, unlike
his sister, was an active, naughty little boy with no interest in
schooling. His parents often worried about him.
The Sambournes undertook some major
redecoration of the house in the mid 1880s. The greatest
alterations were the design and installation of the southern bay
window in the drawing room and the installation of a new fireplace
in the principal bedroom (see House tour).
1898 Sambourne's daughter
Maud married Leonard Messel in 1898.
Maud's daughter Anne was born in
At the end of his life, Sambourne's health
gradually worsened. He died from emphysema on 4th August
Marion died in 1914 and Roy inherited the
house. Roy never made any alterations to the house or its
Maud's daughter Anne Messel married Ronald
Armstrong-Jones. They were divorced in 1935 and Anne later married
Michael, the sixth Earl of Rosse. (see History of the
Roy died in 1946 and his elder sister Maud
inherited the house. Maud did not need 18 Stafford Terrace but she
persuaded her daughter Anne, Countess of Rosse to use it as a
pied-à-terre on her visits to London.
Anne and her friends proposed founding a
Victorian Society to promote the preservation and appreciation of
Victorian architecture and the arts.
Anne sold 18 Stafford Terrace and its contents
to the Greater London Council, who bought it with a grant from the
Land Fund, and the house opened as a museum. Following the
abolition of the Greater London Council, the Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea took over the ownership of the house.
In October the house closed for
On 19 April 2003 Linley Sambourne House
re-opened with new and improved facilities for visitors (See
Visiting the House).