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London: 59-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields (Lindsey House), Camden: surveys and alterations for Sir Spencer Perceval, 1802 (9)


59-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, known as 'Lindsey House' (not to be confused with Lindsey House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea), is the oldest house in Lincoln's Inn Fields. Sited on the west side of the square, it was built speculatively in 1639-41 by Sir David Cunningham but is named after the Earl of Lindsey who lived there in the early eighteenth century. The design of the house is often attributed to Inigo Jones. Colen Campbell thought as much when he illustrated the house in Vitruvius Britannicus, although there is no documentary evidence to support this attribution. The house was divided into two separate dwellings in 1751-2 by Sir Isaac Ware. After the Attorney General (and future Prime Minister) Spencer Perceval came into possession of both houses in 1802, Soane was directed to survey and reunite the two halves. Perceval moved out in 1808 and the houses were subsequently re-divided, but are now, along with Nos 57-58 immediately to the south, a single office.

Curiously, Ptolemy Dean writes that the two elevations and five detail drawings ([3]-[9]) were made in 1809 in preparation for Soane's Royal Academy lectures. However, the drawings are all (except drawing [7]) dated '1802', and this does not appear to be a later addition - at least in the case of drawings [5]-[9]. It is unlikely that Soane would have made such carefully measured and detailed drawings for his lectures. The drawings of Lindsey House that were used during the lectures are SM 74/4/9 and 11-12, and are elevations and perspectives of Nos 57-60. Several of the chimneypieces and details in the two houses appear to be Soane's work, but no drawings of these are known to survive in the Soane Museum's collections.

W. E. Riley and L. Gomme (eds), Survey of London: volume 3: St Giles-in-the-Fields, pt.1: Lincoln's Inn Fields, 1912, p. 97; B. Cherry and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North, 1998, pp. 307-8; P. Dean, Sir John Soane and London, 2006, p. 157.

Tom Drysdale, July 2015



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Contents of London: 59-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields (Lindsey House), Camden: surveys and alterations for Sir Spencer Perceval, 1802 (9)