10 feet to 7/8 inch
At bottom right-hand corner, in pen and brown ink, probably by Gibbs, Feb: 4:th 1712/13 MDCXiii; and at right-angles, in C18-19 hand, 103
Signed and dated
Medium and dimensions
Pen with grey and some brown ink, with grey washes over pencil under drawing, on thick laid paper; 357 x 598
No watermark visible
The plan is for a large site 220 feet long by 84 feet deep. The main house frontage is 69 feet wide and each of the wings is 30 feet across. Between the wings and the main block are two recessed intermediate blocks, symmetrically designed on their fronts, although differently planned. The library wing on the right occupies the full depth of the site. A continuous corridor runs across the centre of the plan, linking the library to the service wing, via a cross passage at the back of the entrance hall.A very light grey wash is used to mark the ground area of the site behind the front property line. This area is marked with a dashed line, which joins on the left-hand side with the dashed lines of a small rectangular area. This area continues the line of the inner wall of the service wing and runs across the frontage about 1 feet 6 inches in front of the main dashed line. The lightly shaded area continues within this rectangular area up to the outer reveal of the second window of the service wing and is marked with ruled pencil lines rather than dashed pen lines. The rectangular area appears to represent the plan of an existing structure on the site, 30 feet wide, like the service wing. The plan provides for four distinct areas of activity, each with separate staircase, and linked by the cross-corridor. Public rooms at the front of the house are served by a grand, open-well staircase to the left of the entrance hall, while private accommodation at the rear is provided with a dog-leg staircase directly behind the main stair. The library at the right-hand end is provided with a large, doube-hemicycle staircase. This rises from both sides of the library door, implying access to an additional library floor or gallery level above. Doors on the outer and inner sides of this staircase compartment provide access from the front to the rear areas beneath the rising curved flights of the stairs. Separate entrance to the service wing is in the left-hand intermediate bay, which corresponds to the library staircase bay on the right-hand side.The preliminary character of the design is revealed by pen and pencil additions which form the basis of the final, revised scheme at 2, below (111/26). Steps are pencilled in front of the middle bay of the library wing, in anticipation of the revision in 2, in which the library function is moved to the upper floor and the corridor in continued across the wing at ground level, with rooms either side. And across the whole plan, freehand (quill) pen and brown ink is used to mark window and fireplace reveals and the oven and work-tops in the kitched, all of which are neatly drawn with a ruling pen and grey ink on the final version of the plan.This plan is of considerable importance as the earliest dated example of Gibbs's town and country house planning. Given his connections with Harley in 1713, it should be possible to identify the site for this design.
Redrawn by Arthur Bolton in Wren Society, XII (1935), pl. 38, top; T. Friedman, James Gibbs, 1984, pp. 113-14, pl. 109; D. Adshead, Wimpole: architectural drawings and topographical views, 2007, pp. 19-21.
Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation