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Preliminary designs and finished drawings for the pheasant house, c1760, unexecuted (4)


Adam volumes 40/57 and 40/56 were incorrectly inscribed by William Adam [when the drawings were being arranged into their folios after Robert and James's respective deaths] as being for the parsonage house, when they are for the pheasant house of c1760. This was Adam's scheme to remodel an older building in the park for use as a small shooting lodge, with a first-floor balcony on each front of the building to provide shooting platforms.

From the elevations in Adam volumes 9/132, 9/129 and 40/56 it appears that Adam intended to include a central oculus in the shallow domed roof. This could not have illuminated the first floor as we can see from the plans in Adam volumes 9/132, 40/57 and 40/56 that there was to be a structural wall through the middle of it. This implies that the oculus was intended to illuminated the roof space, suggesting garret accomodation.

Harris notes that when Adam was returning from his Grand Tour he came via Germany, and is known to have visited Augsburg. There are certain similarities between this design and the Amalienburg at the Nymphenburg Palace designed by Cuvillés on the edge of nearby Munich, and it is possible that this was the inspiration for the pheasant house design for Kedleston.



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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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Contents of Preliminary designs and finished drawings for the pheasant house, c1760, unexecuted (4)