London, Buckingham Palace

London, Buckingham Palace, 1839, reproduction of an engraving after a lithograph by J. Wood. Collection: Photographic collection of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw [F.5179].


Chopin’s second visit to London began on 21 April 1848 (by London Bridge). Jane Stirling rented for him a luxury apartment at 10 Bentnick Street, Cavendish Square. ‘The good honest Erskines have thought of everything, even chocolate, not just an apartment […] You’ll not believe how kind they are; only now I see that this paper on which I am writing has my initials, and I’ve found many such little niceties.’ He was also a frequent guest of the Erskines/Stirlings at 44 Welbeck Street, nearby. Chopin spent Holy Week at the home of friends in Kingston-upon-Thames. On his return, Karol Szulczewski found for Chopin a less exclusive but splendidly furnished apartment at 48 Dover Street, Piccadilly. There, Chopin had three pianos: a Pleyel from Paris, an Erard and a Broadwood. On 15 May, he gave a concert at Stafford House (now Lancaster House)—the ducal residence of the Sutherlands, neighbouring Buckingham Palace on Constitution Hill. The hostess for the evening was Duchess Hariett, Queen Victoria’s closest friend, and the guests of honour were the queen and Prince Albert. Chopin’s next recital was held on 23 June at the home of Adelaide Sartoris, 99 Eton Place, Belgravia. On 7 July, at 2 St James’s Square (no. 2 is no longer extant), a concert was held at the home of Lord Falmouth. Another recital took place at Gore House, in Kensington, the home of Lady Blessington. Near Piccadilly, at 39 Clarges Street, Chopin gave a concert in the drawing-room of the Stirling-Maxwells, relatives of the Stirling family. Still standing in the vicinity of Albert Bridge, at 24 Cheyne Row, is the home of the Carlyles, where Chopin was hosted by Thomas and Jane Carlyle. On 5 August 1848, Chopin boarded a train at Euston station and travelled via Birmingham and Carlisle to Edinburgh. His journeys around Scotland lasted from August to November.