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Surrey House, London, England

Surrey House, on the corner of Oxford Street and Edgware Road, was from 1879, the London residence of Lord and Lady Battersea.

In 1877, Cyril Flower (1843-1907) married Constance, (1843-1931) daughter of Sir Anthony de Rothschild, whom he met in 1864 through his friendship with her cousin, Leopold de Rothschild.

Like his father, Flower was a property developer, and in 1880, he entered Parliament for Brecon, a seat he held until 1885 when the constituency was abolished, and then represented Luton until 1892. He served briefly as a Junior Lord of the Treasury from February to July 1886 in the third Liberal administration of Gladstone, with whom he was a great favourite. It was Gladstone, who, in 1892, raised him to the peerage as Baron Battersea of Battersea in the County of London and of Overstrand in the County of Norfolk.

Apart from his property development and political career he was also a great collector and patron of art. He was a patron of James McNeill Whistler and was involved with the Pre-Raphaelite set. His bedroom in his London residence was of the few interiors completed by Carlo Bugatti.

One of the most famous works owned by Lord and Lady Battersea was The Golden Stairs by Burne-Jones, which Cyril, a patron and friend of Burne-Jones commissioned in 1880 for Surrey House. The Batterseas had no children, and in 1907, Lord Battersea bequeathed The Golden Stairs to the National Gallery with a life interest to Lady Battersea. She surrendered this interest in 1924 and presented the work through the National Art Collections Fund in order that it might be exhibited at the Tate Gallery.

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