CRACE, John Gregory 1809-1889. Interior designer. One of a dynasty of celebrated interior decorators whose successful business grew from coach-painting in the 18th century, he was the son of Frederick Crace (1779-1859) who had worked extensively at Carlton House and the Royal Pavilion at Brighton for the Prince Regent. JG Crace is notable for having decorated Devonshire House and Chatsworth (for the 6th Duke of Devonshire), the House of Lords, the Medieval Court at the 1851 Great Exhibition, and a new apartment at Windsor Castle for the 1854 visit of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie.

In 1860 or thereabouts he and his wife Sarah Jane (née Langley) moved from St John’s Wood to Springfield, a stucco villa set in a miniature park, on the south side of Half Moon Lane. At the time the premises were being reduced by the construction of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, opened in 1860, along the western boundary. Crace became an enthusiastic amateur photographer in 1852, and there is a surviving series of photographs of the house and grounds dating from his family’s years of occupation (deposited with the firm’s archives in the Victoria and Albert Museum). When Springfield was demolished after his death, Stradella Road, Winterbrook Road, and the northern end of Burbage Road were built on the site.

Bernard Nurse and Patrick Darby