The mausoleum was commissioned by Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry, 4th Earl of Bristol (c.1778-1781), to the memory of his eldest brother, Lord George Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, who died in 1775. An estimate from Michael Shanahan for £462.0s.9d was made in 1778 or early 1779 and construction followed until about 1783. Cupola and statue (upper storey) were blown down in a storm of January 1839 and were not replaced.
Literature. E.E.R.Green, 'Downhill Castle, County Derry, Northern Ireland', Country Life, 1950, CVII, p.38; P. Rankin, 'Downhill Co. Derry II', Country Life, 1971, CL, p.155; P. du Prey, John Soane’s architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.178-80; P. du Prey,'Je n'oublieray jamais: John Soane and Downhill', Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society, XXI Nos 3&4, 1978, pp.18-19; H. Colvin, Architecture and the after-life, 1991, p.353
Jill Lever, February 2009
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 Downhill, County Derry, Northern Ireland: mausoleum for Lord George Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol for 4th Earl of Bristol, 1800 (4)
-  Preliminary design, 1779
-  Design, exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1781
-  Record drawing, 1794 or later
-  Imaginative reconstruction drawing probably intended for exhibition at the Royal Academy but not used, by J.M.Gandy, 21 February 1800