Demolition job on man who painted the young Queen

ANCESTORS of a renowned artist are devastated a developer has demolished the Hampstead home where he lived and once painted the Queen

Marc Mullen

ANCESTORS of a renowned artist are devastated a developer has demolished the Hampstead home where he lived and once painted the Queen.

Last month workmen knocked down three houses on Fitzjohn's Avenue, including the former home of early 20th century portrait painter Philip de Laszlo,

All that remains of the house on the corner of Maresfield Gardens is the facade, complete with commemorative English Heritage blue plaque, which was put up 30 years ago.

Sandra de Laszlo, who runs the de Laszlo Archive Trust, and is married to the artist's grandson, said: "I am shocked by the news of the demolition and saddened by the fact that it was a fait accompli.

"It is quite a shock. It was a wonderful family home for Philip de Laszlo the artist, his wife and five sons from 1921 until his death there in 1937.

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"We have so many records of the work he undertook there. I can only feel very glad to have visited the house."

Philip de Laszlo was born in Budapest in 1869, the eldest son of a family of nine.

He moved to Paris and then Munich to study art, and initially devoted himself to historical painting.

But he turned to portraiture and received commissions to paint many of the European royal families.

He married Lucy Guinness in 1900, and in 1907 they settled in Hampstead with three sons Henry, Stephen and Paul. Two more sons - Patrick and John were born at the house.

In his garden studio he painted Queen Elizabeth II, when she was a young princess, the Queen Mother and King George VI. Other subjects included Queen Marie of Romania, The Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur, The Queen of Spain, Dr Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lloyd George.

His garden studio was demolished in the 1960s and became the St Thomas More Catholic Church.

Developer Elfinzone is rebuilding bigger houses behind the facades so that there will be 22 flats and an underground car park for 21 cars.

The family say they hope to keep the blue plaque on the remaining front wall of the house.

Mrs de Laszlo said: "His international clientele visited him to be painted, including the most influential politicians, artists, musicians, industrialists, business men, and royal families of the time, who form a singular time capsule of the early 20th Century in the western world.

"The plaque, of course, should be retained on all that remains of this house as the last focal point and testament to the most successful portrait painter of his era."