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Grosvenor Square, number 5, London: executed designs for two chimneypieces for the 5th Duke of Beaufort, 1768 (2)

Signed and dated

  • 1768


Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort (1744-1833) succeeded to his father's dukedom in 1756. He served as Master of the Horse in 1768-70, and Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire in 1771-1803, Brecknockshire in 1787-1803, and Leicestershire in 1787-99. In 1766 he married Elizabeth (d 1828), the daughter of the Rt Hon. Admiral Edward Boscawen, Adam’s patron at Hatchlands, Surrey, and his wife, Fanny Boscawen, Adam's patron at St Michael Penkevil, Cornwall, for the Admiral's funerary monument. It was presumably through this family connection that Adam was known to Beaufort. Beaufort died in 1803, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry Charles Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort.

Although his principal seat was Badminton House, Gloucestershire, Beaufort's town house was 5 Grosvenor Square. Grosvenor Square is the second largest square in London, and at the centre of the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair. Its fifty-one houses were built in 1725-31, and later Robert and James Adam are known to have worked on five of these houses. Number 5 had been built to designs by John Simmons in c1728. Both of Adam's chimneypiece designs for the 5th Duke of Beaufort were executed by Thomas Carter junior (d 1795) at a cost of £29 and £38, and installed in the drawing room and dining room (possibly back drawing room).

Alterations and repairs were made to the house in 1810 for the 6th Duke of Beaufort, to designs by Sir Jeffry Wyatville (1744-1840). The house was demolished in 1961, and numbers 4-7 were rebuilt to designs by Charles Peczenik and T.H.F. Burditt in 1961-64.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 37, 62; F.H.W. Sheppard (ed.)., The survey of London, Volume 40, 1980, pp. 112-17, 121-22; B. Weinreb, and C. Hibbert, The London encyclopaedia, 1983, p. 350; S. Bradley, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 6: Westminster, 2003, p. 529-31; C. Mosley (ed.), Burke's peerage, baronetage & knightage, 2003, p. 302; I. Roscoe, A biographical dictionary of sculptors in Britain: 1660-1851, 2009, p. 217

Frances Sands, 2013



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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.

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Contents of Grosvenor Square, number 5, London: executed designs for two chimneypieces for the 5th Duke of Beaufort, 1768 (2)