Sir Henry Tate’s own gallery is up for sale at £1.6 million, as part of a property development in Streatham, south London. Marketed by developers Barratt as “the original Tate”, the five-bedroom residence includes the billiards room which was converted into Sir Henry’s private picture gallery. He later donated 65 paintings and money to build the Millbank gallery, which opened in 1897 and is named after him. Park Hill, Sir Henry’s Streatham mansion, dates back to 1790 and was extended by the sugar baron in the 1870s. After his death the large house and extensive grounds were sold to the Congregation of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, who established St Michael’s Convent there. Sir Henry’s picture gallery became their refectory, with uplifting Catholic imagery replacing his Victorian art. Facing dwindling numbers, the nuns finally moved out 18 months ago. Prospective purchasers of Sir Henry’s gallery should be warned that they will not be able to enjoy his estate in solitary splendour. The original mansion is being split up into several exclusive properties, while on the adjoining land a series of “neo-Georgian” terraced townhouses have been built, complete with unsightly garages at ground level. These blocks in Tate Gardens are named The Da Vinci, The Van Gogh and The Picasso—artists whom it is difficult to imagine Sir Henry ever dreaming of collecting.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'The original Tate for sale'