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Thursday, 27 June 2019

Adam Style and the work of Robert Adam

Saloon, Saltram © A Knowles 2014
Saloon, Saltram © A Knowles 2014
Robert Adam (1728-1792) was an influential Neoclassical architect. Having trained under his father William, the leading Scottish architect of his time, and been in partnership with his elder brother John, Robert established his own architectural practice in London after coming back from his Grand Tour in 1757. He took his younger brother James (1732-1794) into partnership with him in 1763.

You can read more about the life of Robert Adam here.

Wedgwood cameo of Robert Adam, modelled by Tassie  from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam   by AT Bolton (1922)
Wedgwood cameo of Robert Adam, modelled by Tassie
from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam
by AT Bolton (1922)
Robert Adam and his brother worked on hundreds of projects. In the collection of their drawings in the Sir John Soane’s Museum, there are over 8,000 sketches and plans relating to more than 350 patrons. Not all these designs were executed, and not all those that were carried out remain, but many can still be seen today.

I have included my photographs where possible. The other pictures are not current and include some of Adam's work that has been altered or demolished. Some titles are clickable links to blog posts I have written on specific places.

The Adam Style

A key element of Adam’s style was his coordinated approach to design. The decorations on the ceilings and walls were intended to harmonise with the designs of the fireplaces, carpets, furniture and fittings of the room. 

His distinctive style was light and fanciful and used the repetition of simple, small-scale Neoclassical ornament inspired by the decorations used in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Ceiling of the Entrance Hall, Kenwood © R Knowles 2019
Ceiling of the Entrance Hall, Kenwood
© R Knowles 2019
Major work in the country included:

Bowood, Wiltshire (1761-71)1

Entrance Hall, Bowood House  from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Entrance Hall, Bowood House
from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Great Drawing Room now the Dining Room,  Bowood House from The Architecture of   Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Great Drawing Room now the Dining Room,
Bowood House from The Architecture of 
Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Compton Verney, Warwickshire (1760-3)

The Portico, Compton Verney, by Robert Adam, 1760  (The back wall has been altered by J Gibson, 1855)  from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Portico, Compton Verney, by Robert Adam, 1760
(The back wall has been altered by J Gibson, 1855)
from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
 Croome Court, Worcestershire (1759-65)

The Long Gallery, Croome Court  from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Long Gallery, Croome Court
from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Harewood, Yorkshire (1759-68)

Entrance Hall, Harewood House, from    The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Entrance Hall, Harewood House, from The Architecture
of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Hatchlands, Surrey (1758-61)

The Saloon (originally the Dining Room), Hatchlands Park,   from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Saloon (originally the Dining Room), Hatchlands Park,
from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Kedleston, Derbyshire (1760-70)

The Marble Hall, Kedleston © A Knowles 2016
The Marble Hall, Kedleston © A Knowles 2016
Kenwood, Middlesex (1767-8)

The Library, Kenwood © R Knowles 2019
The Library, Kenwood © R Knowles 2019
Luton Park House (Luton Hoo), Bedfordshire (1767-74) - redesigned by Robert Smirke c1830
Mamhead, Devon (1769-74) - rebuilt
Mistley Hall, Essex (1774-76 and 1782) - demolished
Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds (1773)
Newby Hall, Yorkshire (1772-80)

Nostell, Yorkshire (1766-76)

Top Hall, Nostell Priory © A Knowles 2014
Top Hall, Nostell Priory © A Knowles 2014
The State Dressing Room, Nostell Priory  - redecorated by Adam and Chippendale (1769-71) © A Knowles 2014
The State Dressing Room, Nostell Priory
- redecorated by Adam and Chippendale (1769-71) © A Knowles 2014
Oaks, The, Surrey – left unfinished (1777-8) - demolished

Osterley, Middlesex (1761-79)

Entrance Hall, Osterley © A Knowles 2014
Entrance Hall, Osterley © A Knowles 2014
Ceiling in outside courtyard at Osterley © A Knowles 2014
Ceiling in outside courtyard at Osterley © A Knowles 2014
Pulteney Bridge, Bath (1770-4)

Pulteney Bridge, Bath © A Knowles 2012
Pulteney Bridge, Bath © A Knowles 2012
Saltram, Devon (1768)

Dining Room ceiling, Saltram © A Knowles 2014
Dining Room ceiling, Saltram © A Knowles 2014
Dining Room, Saltram © A Knowles 2014
Dining Room, Saltram © A Knowles 2014
Shardeloes, Buckinghamshire (1759-63) - converted into flats

South East front of Shardeloes from    The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
South East front of Shardeloes from  
The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Entrance Portico, Shardeloes   from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Entrance Portico, Shardeloes
from The Architecture of Robert and
James Adam
by AT Bolton (1922)
The Library, Shardeloes from The Architecture   of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Library, Shardeloes from The Architecture
 of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Stowe, Buckinghamshire – south front (1770-1) - modified

Stowe © A Flynn (2019)
Stowe © A Flynn (2019)
Syon, Middlesex (1762-8)

Dining Room, Syon House © R Knowles (2018)
Dining Room, Syon House © R Knowles (2018)
The Great Hall, Syon House © A Knowles
The Great Hall, Syon House © A Knowles
Witham Park, Somersetshire (1762-3) - demolished

Other Adam work that I've come across:

Adam fireplace at Strawberry Hill

Robert Adam fireplace in Round Room  Strawberry Hill © A Knowles 2014
Robert Adam fireplace in Round Room, Strawberry Hill
© A Knowles 2014
Detail of Robert Adam fireplace in Round Room, Strawberry Hill   © A Knowles 2014
Detail of Robert Adam fireplace in Round Room, Strawberry Hill
 © A Knowles 2014
Work in London included:

Adelphi (1768-72)

Adelphi Terrace from a print c1795 from The Architecture   of  Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Adelphi Terrace from a print c1795 from The Architecture
 of  Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Admiralty Screen, Whitehall (1759-60)

View of the Admiralty with the new screen by Robert Adam (published 1775)   from The Architecture of  Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
View of the Admiralty with the new screen by Robert Adam (published 1775)
 from The Architecture of  Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Apsley House, Piccadilly (1771-8) - altered and extended by Benjamin Wyatt c1828-30

Apsley House in 1800 from Old and New London by E Walford (1873)
Apsley House in 1800 from Old and New London by E Walford (1873)
Chandos House, Chandos Street (1771)
Derby House, Grosvenor Square (1773)
Fete pavilion of 1774 at Epsom for the Earl of Derby – temporary structure
Fitzroy Square (1790)
Home House, Portman Square (1775-7)
Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square (1762-5) (1765-8)
Mansfield Street (1770)
Office of the Paymaster General (until 1939), Whitehall (1771)
Portland Place (1773 and 1776-78)

Society of Arts (1772-4)

Royal Society of Arts, John Adam Street, London © A Knowles 2015
Royal Society of Arts, John Adam Street, London © A Knowles 2015
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (1775)

Adam's reconstruction of the Theatre Royal, Drury  Lane 1776 from The Architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Adam's reconstruction of the Theatre Royal, Drury
Lane 1776 from The Architecture of Robert and
James Adam
by AT Bolton (1922)
Wynn House, St James’s Square (1772)

Work in Scotland included:
Culzean, Ayshire (1777-90)
Dumfries House, Dumfriesshire (1754-9) – with John Adam
Edinburgh University (1788)
Gosford House, East Lothian (1790-1800)
Glasgow Infirmary (original building) (1794)
Merchant Hall, Edinburgh (1788-90)
Mellerstain, Berwickshire (1770-8)
Newliston, Midlothian (1789-92)
Register House of Scotland, Edinburgh (1772-89)

Work in Ireland included:
Castle Upton, County Antrim (1782)
Langford House, Dublin (1765)1

Notes
1. I have used the dates in Bolton where given but I have found that they don’t always agree with other sources. Assume all dates are approximate!

Sources used include:
Adam, Robert and Adam, The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam (1773)
Bolton, Arthur T, The architecture of Robert and James Adam (1758-1794) (1922)
Swarbrick, John, Robert Adam and his brothers (1915)
Tait, AA, Adam, Robert (1728-1792), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn Oct 2009, accessed 27 Aug 2014)
The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle Volume 62 (1792)

John Soane’s Museum website

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Hatchlands Park - a Regency History guide

Hatchlands Park (2014) © A Knowles
Hatchlands Park © A Knowles (2014)
Hatchlands Park is a red-brick Georgian mansion in East Clandon, Surrey, built for Admiral Edward Boscawen and his wife Frances in the 1750s. The interiors of the house were designed by Robert Adam and the grounds were re-landscaped by Humphry Repton c1800. The house belongs to the National Trust and is leased to Alec Cobbe, a distant relation of the Irish beauty Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, wife of Sir Anthony Browne, the original Tudor owner of the estate. Items from the Cobbe Collection of Old Masters and historic keyboard instruments are on display.

Hatchlands Park - side view © R Knowles (2019)
Hatchlands Park - side view © R Knowles (2019)
Admiral Boscawen’s house

In 1749, Hatchlands Park was bought by Admiral Edward Boscawen, younger son of the 1st Viscount Falmouth, and his wife, Frances, daughter of William Evelyn Glanville of St Clair, Kent, and great niece of the diarist John Evelyn. Frances later became one of the leading bluestocking hostesses, holding literary salons at her home in South Audley Street.

Having lived in the old Tudor house for some years, the Admiral commissioned a new house in c1756. The exterior was designed in the Palladian style by Stiff Leadbetter, Surveyor to St Paul’s, whilst the interiors were designed in a more Neoclassical style by Robert Adam. This is some of Adam’s earliest work and shows what his designs were like when he first returned from his Grand Tour. Designed around a nautical theme including sea nymphs, anchors, dolphins, cannons and Neptune, the decorations were originally white. Hatchlands boasts a number of beautiful Adam ceilings, friezes and fireplaces, but the work remained unfinished on the Admiral’s death in 1761.

Ceiling of the bay window in the Saloon, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Ceiling of the bay window in the Saloon, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
 Humphry Repton at Hatchlands

William Brightwell Sumner bought Hatchlands in 1770, having made his fortune in the East India Company. His son, George Holme Sumner, commissioned Humphry Repton to redesign the grounds and one of Repton’s famous Red Books detailing his plans, most of which were executed, survives. A facsimile copy of the Red Book is on display in the Drawing Room.

Gravel walk leading to Garden Entrance, Hatchlands  © R Knowles (2019)
Gravel walk leading to Garden Entrance, Hatchlands
© R Knowles (2019)
Sumner commissioned Joseph Bonami to alter several rooms, including the Garden Hall – the entrance hall for visitors today.

Later history

The house was sold to Lord Rendel in 1889. His alterations included: a new entrance on the east side of the house; a new dining room; the redecoration of the Staircase Hall; the Music Room, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield; and the gilding and colouring of Adam’s plasterwork. 

Lord Rendel’s grandson, Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel, gave the house to the National Trust in 1945.

Since 1987, Hatchlands has been the family home of Alec Cobbe and the display setting for his fantastic collection of Old Masters and historic keyboard instruments, including the ‘library table’ piano used by Bizet to compose Carmen.

The Stables, Hatchlands  © A Knowles (2014)
The Stables, Hatchlands
© A Knowles (2014)
 What you can see today

As Hatchlands is a family home, no internal photographs are allowed, but I have found some old photographs in a book about Adam's work.

Garden Hall

This was the main entrance until Lord Rendell created a new entrance on the east side of the house. The Garden Hall is the work of Joseph Bonomi and dates to about 1800.

Garden Entrance, Hatchlands © A Knowles (2014)
Garden Entrance, Hatchlands © A Knowles (2014)
The Drawing Room

There is an Adam frieze and fireplace in this room. The original Adam ceiling collapsed c1860 and was replaced using one of the two Adam designs for this ceiling from John Soane’s Museum. Some of the fragments of the original ceiling are on display in the Second-hand Bookshop.

Fragments from the original Drawing Room ceiling at Hatchlands  On display in the Second-hand Bookshop
Fragments from the original Drawing Room ceiling at Hatchlands
On display in the Second-hand Bookshop
This room has my favourite portraits in the house on display – Admiral the Honourable Edward Boscawen by Sir Joshua Reynolds (on loan from the National Portrait Gallery); Queen Charlotte by Sir Joshua Reynolds; George IV by Sir Thomas Lawrence; and a self-portrait of Angelica Kauffman.

Note the bust of Marie Antoinette on the mantelpiece which looks down on her pianoforte.

There is also a painting of Catherine Cobb (1761-1839), a Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Caroline, by Jean-Laurent Mosnier.

Adam fireplace in the Drawing Room, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Adam fireplace in the Drawing Room, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Saloon

The Saloon, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Saloon, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
This room was originally Admiral Boscawen’s dining room and has an Adam ceiling and chimney piece. There is also a pair of gilt console table with eagle supports dating from around 1750 which are amongst the few pieces of furniture that are original to the house. It is now hung with pictures from the Cobbe Collection.

The fireplace in the Saloon, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The fireplace in the Saloon, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Part of the ceiling in the Saloon, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Part of the ceiling in the Saloon, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Library

The Library, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Library, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Another beautiful Adam fireplace and an Adam ceiling, but one that was not finished. The roundels now contain copies of Antonio Zucchi’s four Continents, painted by Alec Cobbe and his assistant.

Fireplace in the Library, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Fireplace in the Library, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Part of ceiling in the Library, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)  Note the empty roundels which have since been filled.
Part of ceiling in the Library, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Note the empty roundels which have since been filled.
The Dining Room

This room, and part of the entrance hall, were originally Admiral Boscawen’s bedroom and dressing room. Most of the Adam ceiling from the bedroom was reused.

The decoration in this room was incomplete and is now based on a late 18th century design by Girard for Carlton House.

Fireplace in the Dining Room, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Fireplace in the Dining Room, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
The Staircase Hall

The large, flower-shaped classical ornaments and compartments are attributed to Adam. Lord Rendel added the plaster ribbons, swags and cameos.

First Floor Landing, Hatchlands  from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
First Floor Landing, Hatchlands
from The architecture of Robert and James Adam by AT Bolton (1922)
Music Room

This room contains portrait prints of composers and musicians.

Last visited May 2019

Sources used include:
Bolton, Arthur T, The architecture of Robert and James Adam (1758-1794) (1922)
The Cobbe Collection Trust in association with The National Trust, Hatchlands Park (2002)