In 1751 Longleat was inherited by Thomas Thynne (1734-96), the eldest son of the 2nd Viscount Weymouth, who succeeded as the 3rd Viscount. He served as Lord of the Bedchamber to George III in 1760-63; Master of the Horse in 1763; Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1765; Groom of the Stole in 1775 and 1782-96; Secretary of State for the Northern Department in 1768, and Secretary of State for the Southern Department in 1768-70 and 1775-79. In 1778 he was created a Knight of the Garter, and in 1789 he was created 1st Marquess of Bath.
In 1759 Weymouth married Lady Elizabeth Cavendish-Bentinck (d1825), the eldest daughter of the 2nd Duke of Portland. Elizabeth's brother, the 3rd Duke of Portland, was Robert Adam's patron for the unexecuted designs for Portland House, New Cavendish Street, London, in c1770. It was doubtless through this family connection that Adam came to Weymouth's attention, and in 1775 he was commissioned to design a new wing for Longleat, and a scheme to convert the gallery into a library. These works were not executed.
Substantial alterations were made to the fabric and interior of the house by the 2nd Marquess of Bath in 1806-13, to designs by Sir Jeffry Wyatville (1766-1840), and in the 1870s the interiors were redecorated by the 4th Marquess, to designs by John Dibblee Crace (1838-1919). Longleat remains the home of the Marquesses of Bath, and is open to the public.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 21, 62; N. Pevsner, and B. Cherry, The buildings of England: Wiltshire, 1975, pp. 308-9; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 131; 'Longleat Park', British listed buildings online; 'Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath KG (1734-1796)', Oxford dictionary of national biography online
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 Longleat House, Wiltshire: unexecuted designs for a new wing and an interior decorative scheme for the gallery for Thomas Thynne, 3rd Viscount Weymouth (later 1st Marquess of Bath), 1775 (6)
- Preliminary design for the addition of a new wing, c1775, unexecuted (1)
- Alternative preliminary designs for details, and design for a ceiling for the gallery, 1775, unexecuted (2)
- Designs for the walls of the gallery, 1775, unexecuted (2)
- Record drawing for a frieze for the gallery, ND, unexecuted (1)