After the former British Legation on Connecticut Avenue was sold for $500,000 in 1930, a new site on Massachusettes Avenue (now Embassy Row) was purchased. Architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens accepted the project to design a Chancery and Ambassador’s Residence, despite still being heavily involved in completing his Viceroy’s Palace in New Delhi. However, the British Treasury were keen not to allow costs to escalate at a time when Britain was repaying considerable debts to the US, accrued during the War, so it was more than two years before Lutyen’s fourth scheme for the site was at last approved. His design included a residence on the higher land, away from the road, including a ballroom and service quarters, connected to the U-shaped Chancery building facing the road by the Ambassador’s study and porte-cochère (covered entrance). The project was completed at a cost of £197,680 and Lutyens was assisted by local architect Frederick H. Brooke.
Fransioli’s painting is dominated by the main residence, although the Chancery can be seen through the trees. Today, a 1960s Embassy building, designed by architect Eric Bedford, also stands within the grounds; built after Lutyen’s Residence and Chancery was out grown.
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