The Ardkinglas estate came into the ownership of the Campbell family in the fourteenth century. This included a medieval castle on a site near to the current house, but by the eighteenth century this castle was in a ruinous condition. In 1729 Sir James’s grandfather had commissioned designs for rebuilding the castle from Colen Campbell (1676-29). Campbell’s scheme was not executed, but two drawings showing a design based on Palladio’s Villa Emo survive within the collection at Inveraray Castle. In 1773 Sir James commissioned Robert Adam to make designs for rebuilding the castle. The surviving drawings at Sir John Soane's Museum show a relatively modest scheme, but this too was unexecuted.
It is not known how Sir James was acquainted with Robert Adam. It may have been through their mutual acquaintance: Adam’s friend, and Sir James’s relative, Lord Frederick Campbell, a son of the 4th Duke of Argyll, and Adam’s patron at Ardencaple, Argyll from 1762; Petersham Lodge, Richmond at an unknown date; Combe Bank, Kent from 1767; and the General Register House, Edinburgh from 1772. Irrespective of this, in 1764 Sir James was a subscriber to Adam’s publication, Ruins of the palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia.
The medieval castle at Ardkinglas was finally replaced by Sir Alexander Campbell, 4th Baronet in c1795 to designs by an unknown architect. This house was destroyed by fire in 1831, when the stable block – possible built to designs by James Playfair (1755-94) – was converted to serve as a replacement. The castle was not rebuilt again until the twentieth century. In 1905 Sir Andrew Noble purchased the estate and commissioned designs for the house from Sir Robert Stodart Lorimer (1864-1929). Lorimer’s house remains in the possession of the descendants of Sir Andrew Noble.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 2, 65; F. Arneil Walker, The buildings of Scotland: Argyll and Bute, 2000, p. 114’ ‘Campbell (formerly Livingstone), James (?1719-88), of Ardkinglas, Argyll, and Glentirran, Stirling’, History of Parliament online
Frances Sands, 2014
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).