Like any area of London, Mayfair and St James’s are constantly changing, so while the map includes venerable businesses such as the gentleman’s barbers Geo. F Trumper on Curzon Street and tailors Turnbull & Asser on Jermyn Street, it also includes the Russian-owned wine shop Decadence just up from Berkeley Square. On the square itself is the casino The Clermont Club (one time haunt of Lord ‘Lucky’ Lucan), and the nightclub Annabel’s (named after the late Sir James Goldmsith’s wife). There are also clubs of a more recent vintage, such as Soho House’s Mayfair branch (also on Curzon Street), The Arts Club on Dover Street, 5 Hertford Street and Mark’s on Charles Street.
Amongst these fleshpots are the businesses that give the two neighbourhoods their life forces, a mixture of high-end real estate companies, auction houses and, of course, hedge funds. None of the latter feature on the map, however, leaving the viewer to speculate about what goes on behind the doors of the elegant Georgian townhouses that are typical of the area.
Some infamous historical events are noted, such as the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, which took place at the Millennium Hotel on Grosvenor Square in 2006. This is commemorated by a teapot, the instrument that was used (allegedly at the instruction of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin) to administer the radioactive polonium-210 that killed him.
Additionally, Walter will be drawing on Shapero Rare Books’ considerable archive of rare maps of London, including social researcher and reformer Charles Booth’s Maps Descriptive of London Poverty. The exhibition will also feature a number of historic books pertaining to life in London, including Henry Mayhew’s book, London Labour and the London Poor.
Says Walter: ‘All the source imagery for this work came from my own photography. I walked every inch of both Mayfair and St James’s, marking off every road and alleyway in the area. The most striking architectural features that I noticed were the doors, windows and lamps that adorn many of the grand London Town houses. St James’s Palace, built in 1531 for Henry
the Eighth on the site of an older women’s Leper hospital is a real gem in what is surprisingly still a reasonably hidden part of central London.’