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Miss Lowther: design for a fire screen, 1776 (1)

Signed and dated

  • 1776


During the 1760s and 1780s Robert and James Adam were commissioned by Sir James Lowther, Baronet (created 1st Earl of Lonsdale in 1784) (1736-1802) to make designs for Lowther Hall and Whitehaven Castle, both in Cumberland. Doubtless this fire screen for 'Miss Lowther' can be attributed to the patronage of Sir James Lowther, but not necessarily for either of these houses. It is significant to note that 'Miss Lowther' is unknown.

In 1755 Sir James married Lady Mary Stuart (1740-1824). The marriage was an unhappy one, and they had no children: Sir James had no daughter with Lady Mary called 'Miss Lowther'. It is possible that she was a female relative of Sir James's, or even an illegitimate daughter by one of his many mistresses, but this is not known, and it is not possible to say whether any such lady resided with him at Lowther Hall or Whitehaven Castle.

See also: Lowther Hall and Whitehaven Castle

'Lowther, James, Earl of Lonsdale (1736-1802)', Oxford dictionary of national biography online

Frances Sands, 2013



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

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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 Miss Lowther: design for a fire screen, 1776 (1)