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London: Cardigan House, Richmond Hill: survey drawings and designs for additions, 1795-1797 (6)


Cardigan House (the name came later) was built for Robert Sayer (1725-94, a print publisher and seller) on the site of an older, smaller house between 1791 and 1793. The architect was Robert Mylne (1733-1811). In 1794, the Duke of Clarence rented it furnished from Sayer for £420 a year. Soane's survey drawings are dated November 1795 and his design drawings are dated January 1797. In June of that year, because of a fire that severely damaged Cardigan House, the Duke of Clarence moved out. He had lived there with the actress Mrs Jordan and the first three of their ten children. Soane's participation in additions to the house came to an end.

A letter in the Soane Museum green files gives evidence for Mylne as the original architect of Cardigan House though it is not listed in H.Colvin's A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 2008. The letter (12 June 1992) is from John Cloake FSA (1924-2014), author of several books on Richmond. Using rate books and vestry minutes as well as Mylne's professional diaries (in the RIBA Library since 1986 and not the 'grossley inaccurate transcript of the diaries published by A.E.Richardson', Colvin op.cit. p.722) Cloake established the early history of the house as well as Mylne's involvement.

Cardigan House was purchased by the British Legion in 1925, the garden was largely absorbed into the nearby public gardens at about the same time. The house was demolished in 1970.

Jill Lever
April 2015



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 London: Cardigan House, Richmond Hill: survey drawings and designs for additions, 1795-1797 (6)