In the 18th and 19th centuries, Dover Street was the height of London society. Many famous people lived in the Georgian houses including the architect John Nash, the composer Frederick Chopin and the publisher Edward Moxton, while guests in the hotels and clubs included Alexander Graham Bell, Napoleon III, Theodore Roosevelt, Rudyard Kipling and Agatha Christie, whose book Bertram’s Hotel is based on Brown’s Hotel, originally established by James Brown and his wife (who were the valet and personal maid of Lord and Lady Byron) to provide accommodation for those in London ‘for the season’. The street was so important that what is now the Green Park tube station was originally Dover Street station with an entrance in Dover Street itself.
Ely House at No 37 was built between 1772 and 1776 for the Bishop of Ely by the architect Robert Taylor, with later alterations when it was connected through to Berkeley Street. Its beautiful white interiors restored and refurbished by the architect Annabelle Selldorf for the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac are now bursting with German artist Daniel Richter’s exploration of 21st century culture, the music, the dancing, the sex, the politics and the use (or abuse) of media in this 2018 update ‘I should have known better’ on the retrospective of his work shown at Camden Arts Centre in 2017, but by focussing on recent work is much bolder, dramatic, vibrant and more erotic, as his style develops.
So here we have two cultures coming together – the elegant 18th century and the raucous 21st century. What went on behind those elegant neoclassical facades in years gone past we can only guess, but perhaps Daniel Richter’s work could represent a little of the 18th century as well as the 21st?