The Rolle family acquired Bicton through marriage in the early seventeenth century including the original house which is thought to have been erected from the 1560s. The house was then rebuilt from c1730 to the designs of an unknown architect. Nothing of the sixteenth- or eighteenth-century houses survives.
In 1772 Robert Adam was commissioned to make designs for a new house and gatehouse for Bicton. The designs were not executed but constituted a classical house flanked by U-shaped service wings, and a castle-style gatehouse. The house was rebuilt by James Wyatt (1746-1813) from c1800, and then altered and enlarged in 1908-9 by Sir Walter Tapper (1861-1935). It is now the Devon County Council College of Agriculture.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 3, 90; B. Cherry, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Devon, 1989, p. 172; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 122, 243; History of Parliament online: 'Walter, John (?1714-79), of Bicton, and Stevenson, Devon'; British listed buildings online: 'Bicton Park, Bicton House, Devon, School'
Frances Sands, 2013
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 Bicton House, East Budleigh, Devon: unexecuted designs for a house and a gatehouse for John Rolle Walter, 1772 (7)
- Preliminary design and designs for a house, 1772, unexecuted (6)
- Design for a gatehouse, 1772, unexecuted (1)