The Eyre Estate was developed here, with large houses; semi-detached ones; an orphanage for girls; and two terraces of stucco houses, making a mixed bag. The house with the largest grounds in this part of the map, stretching from the canal bank to St John's Wood Road, was occupied by Landseer, the famous animal painter.

Haydon had painted a monumental picture of Jesus entering Jersulem on an ass. Landseer, as one of his apprentice, was deputed to paint the ass while Haydon concentated on the Christ figure. When the picture was exhibited, the painting of the ass stood out as an extraordinary animal painting and the picture became known as 'Jesus and the Ass' to Haydon's discomforture.


Landseer’s house at Punker’s Barn, c. 1840



Another view of Landseer's House

The following is the story of one site on the St John's Wood border.

Landseer’s Trafalgar Square lions were modeled here from a lion which arrived at the door by cab, from the nearby London Zoo. It had died quite recently and the person who next used the cab may have been surprised by the smell. If he had a dog, its hair must have bristled. Landseer modelled his lions from the body until the smell became too overpowering. The fact that the lion was dead allowed Landseer to model his lions with both paws straight, as if prepared to spring. Normal lions at rest always curl one paw backwards which would not have been alert enough for Trafalgar Square.


The artist imagining Landseer at work.
Pen drawing by Richard Doyle from his journal, 1840.

For years Dickens, who was a frequent visitor to Punker's Barn, was to describe the arrival of the lion and the amazement it caused. It became one of his party pieces. Landseer modelled from it until the smell became too overpowering.

Stucco houses in Aberdeen Place and Cunningham Place
Page 74
Page 76