The London Terrace

Trompe-l'œil on a Victorian townhouse

The London TerraceJust off the Seven Sisters Road in Holloway are rows of elegant three-storey Victorian townhouses. Walking along Windsor Terrace, lines of sash windows draw the eye along the road to the corner of Salterton Road. Walking round the corner, the end wall of number 9 also features four sash windows; at one, half open, sits a black cat looking out over the street. Nothing unusual there, except.....the render on the wall seems to be curling up at the edges, like a piece of paper.

Very strange. Look closer, and it becomes apparent that the render isn't actually render, it's just painted onto the brickwork. But the bricks look a little smooth, the pointing of the joints seems to be unusually flush; then you realise the brickwork, and the Portland stone blockwork at ground level too, is painted onto the underlying render (yes, that's real). Whoever painted the brickwork did a very good job though, they even used a spirit level to get the courses straight, look, up there, at the top. Oh, that's painted too.

At least the windows are normal, nothing peculiar there. Apart from the blind at the cat's window: blue sky and clouds, which makes you start to wonder whether you're outside looking in or inside looking out. And the adjacent window has a blind that seems to be made of bricks: is it solid or supple? As if that wasn't curious enough, you notice the blind is pulled back slightly, a single disembodied eye peeping eerily out.

In fact the whole wall of 9 Windsor Terrace is a very clever piece of trompe-l'œil designed to confuse and disconcert the viewer. Even the name of the artists who created it in July 1985 is only represented by a slightly baffling mathematical symbol: 'square root of two'?

We're currently researching the history of this mural. If you can help unravel the mysteries of The London Terrace, please get in touch.

Condition

Although now 25 years old, the mural is in reasonable condition: the paint is fading and peeling slightly in places, and there are some cracks to the render. In parts there is a covering of algae, while the left hand side has some ivy attached, although, at the time of visiting, this had recently been cut back and was dying off.

Have we missed something?

If you know something about this mural that we have missed the please get in touch.

This mural is in OK condition

Where to find it

9 Windsor Road, London N7 6JG

From Upper Holloway station, walk south along Holloway Road. Turn left onto Windsor Road and follow the line of terraces past Eburne Road to the junction with Salterton Road. Turn right; the mural is on the end wall of 9 Windsor Terrace, on the corner of Salterton Road.
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Colours

#99AABB #664444 #AA8877 #553333 #886666 #775566 #887766 #8899AA #445566

Dimensions

8 m x 13 m Person for scale

Materials

  • Paint: Paint

How to get there

Bus
4, 17, 43, 263, 271
Train
Upper Holloway
Tube
Holloway Road, Finsbury Park

© London Mural Preservation Society 2017