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Design for a cupola for the stables, 1776, as executed in 1827-29 (1)


Always keen on horses and riding, it is unsurprising that the Winn family should build a grand quadrangular stables to the south-east of the house. The stable block was started in 1719-21 by the 3rd Baronet, adjacent to the medieval priory building. The 4th Baronet built the north and east ranges around 1763 to designs by James Paine, and incorporating his father’s stable building. The 5th Baronet added the south and west ranges after 1766 to designs by Robert Adam. These eighteenth-century stables provided space for 50 horses, a riding house, a greenhouse, and a garden room; with a rose garden on the south front. Then in 1827-29 Charles Winn reduced the size of the stables to designs by James Pritchett and Charles Watson, demolishing the east range and the eastern half of the north range. At this time, a carriage arch was built in the west range, surmounted by a cupola which had been designed – but not executed – by Adam in 1776. The demolished east and north ranges were rebuilt in 1875 by the 1st Baron St Oswald, to designs by John MacVicar Anderson, at the same time moving the Adam-designed cupola from the west range to the north range (facing the house) as Adam had intended. This work culminated with the demolition and rebuilding of the 3rd Baronet’s original 1719-21 stable building in the west half of the north range by the 2nd Baron St Oswald in 1904, also to designs by MacVicar Anderson.

There are numerous extant Adam office drawings for the stables and riding house at Nostell. Three drawings of 1772-79, within the private drawings collection of Lord St Oswald, give the designs for the new riding house. For the west range of the stables there are three undated drawings in the collection of Lord St Oswald, and a further four undated drawings belonging to the National Trust. Eight drawings from the National Trust collection and a ninth from the collection of Lord St Oswald give the 1772 designs for the garden room and stabling. Three drawings in the collection of Lord St Oswald give the 1773 designs for balustrades in the stables. And two drawings of 1776 from the collection of Lord St Oswald give the design for the cupola, corresponding with this drawing at the Soane Museum: showing a plan and elevation in one drawing, and a plan and section in the other.

The National Trust acquired the park and stables in 2003, and use the stables for functions and visitor services.



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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 Design for a cupola for the stables, 1776, as executed in 1827-29 (1)