The Boat House is a rare dwelling. Bedecked in dove grey and pearl and teetering on the ever-undulating Thames, it has something of the ephemeral and other-worldly about it – as if sprung fleetingly to life from the pages of a novel. And though this riverside villa has been firmly anchored in London for centuries, it better evokes the unrestrained glamour of Gatsby’s New York mansion, where “men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
The Boat House has other parallels with Fitzgerald’s fictional masterpiece, too. It was built by one of the foremost figures of eighteenth century society, and, playing host to gatherings of the city’s elite, the house is no stranger to soirees and parties to rival those of Jay himself.
With barely a stretch of the imagination, you might fancy the beautiful and the damned sipping Mint Juleps under the glittering chandelier in the main sitting room. And, when the Charleston becomes exhausting, they saunter to the balcony to catch their breath in the cooling river breeze. The decadent soiree, no doubt, would spill out into the large blue garden below – a lone bejewelled woman retiring shyly to the children’s swing while more outlandish guests take to the trampoline. And upstairs, you’d surely find Daisy Buchanan resting upon the roll-top bath to preen her already-perfect hair.