Locke owned also a succession of town houses in Portman Square, which had been laid out by Henry William Portman in c1765. First Locke purchased number 41 on the south side of the square. For this house James Adam (possibly in collaboration with his brother Robert) was commissioned to make alterations to the house. From evidence in the RIBA drawings collection it appears likely that James Adam made designs for alterations to the fabric of the house, as well as at least one extant design for the interior. None of Adam's designs for this house were executed.
In 1775-76 Locke left number 41 in favour of number 21 in the north side of Portman Square. Number 21 had been built from c1772 to designs by James Adam. There are extant drawings for the fabric at the RIBA, and for the interior at the Soane Museum. This Adam house was altered in 1866, and the principal entrance was moved to the front on Gloucester Place. Further alterations were made to the interior in 1972 for the RIBA Drawings Collection, and again from 2004 for the Home House club (19-21 Portman Square). Locke only remained at number 21 for two years owing to financial difficulties, and in 1778 he moved to number 14 on the west side of the square.
The extent of James Adam's authorship of the designs for these two houses, or indeed any collaboration with his brother Robert, is unknown. There are three contract drawings, datable to 1765-66, attributed to James Adam, which may have been for the unexecuted scheme for 41 Portman Square, within the RIBA drawings collection. There are also four preliminary designs and designs, datable to c1773, attributed to James Adam, showing 21 Portman Square as executed but with alterations, within the RIBA drawings collection.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 48, 78; B. Cherry, and N. Pevsner, The building of England: London 3: north west, 1991, p. 650; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume 1, pp. 398, 402-3, Volume 2, pp. 78, 130; K. Maxwell, '21 Portman Square', The Georgian, Volume 1, 2005, pp. 26-8
Frances Sands, 2012
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Contents of Portman Square, numbers 41 and 21, London: executed and unexecuted designs for alterations, for William Locke, 1765-66 and 1772-78 (9)
- Design for a ceiling for the drawing room at 41 Portman Square, 1766, unexecuted (1)
- Design for a chimneypiece for a dressing room for 41 Portman Square, 1766, unexecuted (1)
- Variant designs for a chimneypiece for an unknown room for 21 Portman Square, 1775 (2)
- Preliminary designs and finished drawing for alternative wall brackets, c1765-78 (4)
- Record drawing for a frieze for the dressing room, N.D. (1)