Bute was not only a political figure, but was also a keen patron of artistic and intellectual activities. He was a trustee of the British Museum from 1765-92, and President of the Society of Arts from 1780-92. And being a keen scholar and botanist, following his retirement in 1763, Bute spent his considerable fortune on intellectual pursuits, and on building a seaside villa at Highcliffe, Hampshire, during the 1770s, where he spent the majority of his later years.
Bute was also one of Robert Adam's major patrons, employing him in Berkeley Square, and at Luton Park. It is not known when the designs for Eyton were commissioned, although it is possible that this was shortly before Bute purchased Luton Park in 1762, at a time when he was seeking a country seat, or alternatively, it might have been after his self-imposed removal from public life, when he decided to build himself a new home, plumping instead for Highcliffe rather than Eyton. The first set of undated drawings for the house are in the hand of an unknown architect. They are doubtless contained within the Adam drawings collection as they would have been given to Adam to assist his own work. And indeed, the second scheme by Adam appears to be a ‘revised version’ of the previous scheme of unknown authorship.
See also: Luton Park & Lansdowne House
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 13, 64; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy 1701-1800, 1997, p. 164; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 125
Frances Sands, 2012
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.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).
Contents of Eyton House, Ayton, Berwickshire (?): unexecuted designs for a house for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, c1762-80 (12)
- Finished alternative drawings for the house by an unknown architect, N.D., unexecuted (6)
- Finished drawings for the house, date range: 1762-80, unexecuted (6)