A Hampstead house that has attracted a parade of actors, authors and broadcasters has been listed for sale for £7.35 million.
The last home at the top of Windmill Hill, historic Capo di Monte occupies a secluded spot bordering Hampstead Heath with direct access from the back garden.
Its most illustrious former resident, Sarah Siddons, was a thespian whose sensational portrayals of Shakespeare tragediennes such as Lady Macbeth earned her the moniker “the Queen of Drury Lane” in the late 18th century.
Such was her skill and aura that fellow actors were sometimes rendered speechless, according to theatre biographer Henry Barton Baker. Critic and essayist William Hazlitt described her as “tragedy personified”.
Dating to 1762, the house is believed to be an amalgam of two cottages that earned the Italian name – meaning ‘head of the mountain’ – for its position at one of the highest points in London.
Siddons took up residence between 1804 – 1805 and her time in the house is commemorated with an ‘S’ above its main entrance.
Art historian Kenneth Clark – the youngest ever director of the National Gallery – bought the house in 1941, moving on five years later for grander proportions at Upper Terrace House around the corner.
Its reputation as a magnet for the city’s cultural elite was cemented when the novelist and critic Marghanita Laski secured the deeds soon after, in 1949. She lived at the house with her husband for almost four decades until her death in 1988.
Listed just three years after the postwar Town and Country Planning Act 194 implemented the scheme in 1947, Capo di Monte has a stucco façade and a rear in red brick and painted weatherboard.
“For what was once upon a time two cottages, laid in such proximity to the Heath, to be unified into one expansively lateral home, makes this a rare autonomy even for Hampstead,” said James Klonaris, Head of Prime Appraisals at Inigo, who is selling the house.
“Capo di Monte stands alone at the end of Windmill Hill, unoverlooked, and as such the substantial front garden is a every bit as useable and private as that of the rear courtyard,” he added.
The house, which sits within the Hampstead conservation area, was last sold in 2021 for £6.235 million.
Previous owners quickly attracted the attention of local conservationists The Heath and Hampstead Society when they applied to replace an old conservatory and significantly extend the basement to facilitate a gym and cinema room in 2014.
In the end only a portion of the works was carried out and while this lower level includes a study, a bedroom with en suite shower room and a guest WC, consent remains in perpetuity for the extra square footage.
Five further bedrooms occupy the top storey, while the ground floor is given over to a series of smart reception spaces including an entrance hall with working fireplace and a panelled dining room. In all there is 3,800 square feet of space, accessed via two staircases at either end of the house.
A thoughtful renovation carried out in recent years pairs heritage wallpapers, a Shaker-style kitchen and an Aga – plus a separate oven for precision cooking – with crisp modern joinery and walls in a soothing Eau de Nil shade.
The current owners’ furniture collection, which includes a Ligne Roset ‘Togo’ sofa and pieces by Eames and Faye Toogood, hints at a broad and era-spanning appreciation of design.
Buoyant Hampstead, with its average property price of £1,472,489, has bucked recent market trends – the figure represents an increase of 2 per cent since the same time last year.
Recently a crop of famous residents including Dame Emma Thompson and Jim Broadbent attempted to block a “Malibu-style” build near the cricket ground, arguing in a letter that it would set a “dangerous prescedent” for building on infill plots between historic homes.