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Designs for a ruinous garden fort or folly, 1774, unexecuted (2)


These unexecuted designs for a garden fort or folly appear to show a decayed triangular castle, possibly with a moat. King has suggested that these ruins may have been inspired by the thirteenth-century moated triangular castle of Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway, with which Adam may have been familiar.

Although ultimately unexecuted, Astley has explained that the purpose of this building was to provide the Child family with a contrived display of dynastic longevity: 'Having a castle in a country house park was a sign of old wealth, a visible symbol of continuity of land ownership. The Child family fortune was recently acquired; this design, which was not executed, would have given them their own ruined castle.'

There is an Adam office drawing for this ruinous garden fort or folly within the National Trust drawings collection at Osterley, and this is dated 1774 and shows the same design - albeit from a slightly different view - as Adam volume 21/2.



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 Designs for a ruinous garden fort or folly, 1774, unexecuted (2)