The entrance may today look relatively grand, though perhaps a little unusual in the expensive property world of Mayfair, squashed as it is between two taller buildings, but 13 Carlos Place was once the brick back wall of the squash courts of the rather grand house at 47 Grosvenor Square built in 1924 to designs of E. Vincent Harris for Major Stephen Courtauld of the famous Courtauld family. Drawings and photographs show the facade having a large niche in which stood a statue by A. F. Hardiman of St. George, apparently called ‘Old George’ by taxi drivers and which was moved by the family to Eltham Hall around 1935 and, around 1953 the niche was lengthened into a door and windows inserted on either side when the building became the O’Hana Gallery.
Today the old squash court and additional spaces, with as few alterations as possible – those needed for an top international gallery – is now Hamiltons, specialising in photography, only a short walk from where Phillips was holding its Photography auction this week. The result is a great gallery space here in the heart of Mayfair, in particular for photography in which Hamilton’s specialises.
Currently showing are two portfolios of works covering the career of American photographer Richard Avedon (1923-2004), ‘Made in France’ from the 1950′s including a group of original engraver prints for Harpers Bazaar which he rediscovered and ‘La Passante du Siecle’ from the 1990′s reflecting the best of fashion design and the style of society at the different times. A splendid exhibition in a splendid gallery, where I am pleased to say that they have resisted the ‘white cube’ aesthetic for a darker colour scheme that allows the photographs to sing from the walls.