17/8 ins to 10 ft
Lettered in the drawingin ink Arcadia, and inscribed in red ink 25
Signed and dated
Medium and dimensions
Pencil, pen, brown and grey washes304 x 462
This is the revised design for Queen Caroline's Hermitage in Richmond Gardens, Surrey made by William Kent in 1730. Adam vol.56/33-35 shows a more architectural version of the design, which is closer to Kent's engraving of 1738, inscribed 'View of the Hermitage/ in the Royal Garden at Richmond'. The lintel above the keystone of the central arch has the inscription 'Arcadia'. A section of the grotto is reproduced in Dixon Hunt William Kent, Landscape Garden Designer (London, 1987), p.62, pl.29. According to Fleming, Robert Adam visited Richmond Gardens in 1750 and '... took a plan of the Queen's hermitage by Morris ...' (Fleming Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome (London, 1962), p.85). The reference to 'Morris' is probably to Roger (d.1749) rather than Robert Morris, who Adam knew through his work at Inveraray Castle, Argyll, Scotland. The Adam family worked there between 1745 and 1760. There is a view of this grotto at Blair Adam, and also a small plan and elevation of the hermitage in Adam's sketchbook of 1749-50 in the RIBA (see Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Gregg International Publishers Ltd, 1968), p.17, fig.15). Alternatively, Adam may have acquired this drawing and Adam 56/33-35 when he became Royal Architect in 1761, and had access to the drawings for royal buildings.
Rep. Dixon Hunt 'William Kent and the Theatre', Kunstlicht, 16 (Amsterdam, 1985), pl.1C M Sicca 'Like a shallow cave by nature made, William Kent's natural architecture at Richmond', Architectura (Munich, 1986), vol.16, pp.68-82, fig.6 Dixon Hunt William Kent, Landscape Garden Designer (London, 1987), cat.70 Richardson, ed. Soane: Connoisseur & Collector, catalogue of an exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 1995, cat.14William Kent 1685-1748, A Poet on Paper (London, 1998), catalogue of an exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 1998, cat.29.
Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation