Corsham Court had been built in 1582 by Thomas Smythe, and was purchased by Sir Paul in 1745. Having rejected designs by Henry Keene (1726-76), Methuen employed Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-83) in 1761-64 to enlarge the house, principally through the addition of a large picture gallery. Following this Methuen approached Robert Adam. Corsham is one of the rare instances in which Adam provided designs for furniture, without having provided designs for interior decoration. He designed four executed mirror frames for the picture gallery and cabinet room.
Further alterations were made to the house and park in 1797-98 by John Nash (1752-1835) and John Adey Repton (1775-1860), and in 1844-49 by Thomas Bellamy (1798-1876). Corsham Court remains in the ownership of the Methuen family. It is open to the public, and part of the house is used as a postgraduate centre by the University of Bath Spa for the arts and humanities.
There are four copies of Adam's designs in the collection at Corsham Court.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 7, 80; E. Harris, The furniture of Robert Adam, 1963, pp. 49, 77-78, 80-81; N. Pevsner, and B. Cherry, The buildings of England: Wiltshire, 1975, pp. 192-94; E. Harris, The genius of Robert Adam: his interiors, 2001, pp. 14, 59, 347; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, p. 225; 'Methuen, Paul (1723-95), of Corsham and Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts.', History of Parliament online, 2012
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 Corsham Court, Chippenham, Wiltshire: designs for frames and tables, for Paul Methuen, 1767-72 (5)
- Record drawing of a mirror frame for the picture gallery, 1767, executed with minor alterations (1)
- Alternative record drawings for a mirror frame, one of which includes a console table, for the cabinet room, 1771-72, executed with alterations (2)
- Working drawing for a frame, c1767-72 (1)
- Preliminary design for a girandole, 1772, unexecuted (1)