It was George Montagu, 4th Duke of Manchester (1737-88) who employed Adam to make designs for Kimbolton in 1763. He was MP for Huntingdonshire from 1761, and on his succession in 1762 became an active member of the House of Lords in support of Rockingham. In the same year he became Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire, Lord of the Bedchamber, and married Elizabeth Dashwood. In 1764 he became a member of the Society of Dilettanti, and was Ambassador to Paris in 1783. Kimbolton was his principal seat. Adam made designs for parts of the interior and various buildings in the park. Unfortunately, however, Manchester was notoriously short of funds. Indeed, it was recorded by Walpole that his income was not adequate to maintain his elevated position, and in 1767 it was necessary for him to sell the Manchester family London house in Berkeley Square to Robert Child. It was presumably owing to these financial difficulties that very few of Adam's designs came to fruition. Of the surviving Adam drawings the only executed designs for Kimbolton were for a cabinet, now in the V&A, and two gateways. A duplicate of one of these gateway drawings (Adam volume 51/89) was sold at Sotheby's in 1987.
Alterations were made to Kimbolton during the nineteenth century by Henry Roberts (1803-76), and William Burn (1789-1870). The Manchester family remained in possession of the house until it was sold in 1949 and became Kimbolton School.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume I, p. 63, Volume II, Index p. 20; E. Harris, The furniture of Robert Adam, 1963, Index p. 50; A. Oswald, 'Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire - I-III: the home of Kimbolton School', Country Life, 5, 12, 19 December 1968, p. 1474; N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdon and Peterborough, 1968, pp. 276-281; G. Beard, The work of Robert Adam, 1978, pp. 45-46; E. Harris, The genius of Robert Adam: his interiors, 2001, p. 195; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, p. 341, Volume II, pp. 179, 189, 191, 220-21, 245; S. Thurley, 'Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire', Country Life, 30 March 2006, pp. 67-70; E. Harris, The country houses of Robert Adam: from the archive of Country Life, 2007, p. 80; www.collections.vam.ac.uk: The Kimbolton cabinet
I am grateful to Edward Valletta, Kimbolton School Bursar, and Nora Butler, Kimbolton Castle Visits Organiser, for sharing advice and information.
Frances Sands, 2012
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 Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire: designs for the house and park for George Montagu, 4th Duke of Manchester, 1763-71 (22)
- Designs for furniture and the interior decoration of the dining room (4)
- Designs for the stables, domestic offices, orangery and menagerie, gatehouses, and dairy (18)