William Constable (1721-91), was the son of Cuthbert Tunstall and Amy Clifford, the cousin of Lady Anne Clifford. As a Roman Catholic, Constable was barred from pursing a profession, and he directed his energies, therefore, on remodelling the interior of Burton Constable, as well as his scientific studies and collecting. Constable commissioned designs from various prominent architects, including, as is evident from this single surviving drawing, Robert Adam in 1766. Adam, however, was not responsible for any of the alterations to the house. The principal work was undertaken to designs by Timothy Lightoler (1727-69) who redecorated the hall, staircase and dining room. This work was complete by 1768. Further interiors were installed to designs by James Wyatt (1746-1813), who was responsible for the drawing room in 1776, and Thomas Atkinson (c1729-98), who created the billiard room in c1773 (this was converted into a private chapel in 1830), and the blue drawing room in 1776.
William Constable died without children, and the estate passed first to his sister Cecily’s sons, Edward and Francis Sheldon, and then to the Clifford branch of the family. Various financial difficulties caused the estate to be temporarily abandoned in 1870. The house is now in the possession of the Burton Constable Foundation, who have undertaken a programme of restoration, and the house is open to the public.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 53; B. Ford, ‘William Constable: an enlightened Yorkshire patron’, Apollo, June 1974, pp. 408-15; I. and E. Hall, Burton Constable Hall: a century of patronage, 1991, pp. 16-24; N. Pevsner, and D. Neave, The buildings of England: Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 1995, pp. 371-76
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).