In 1748 the 9th Earl of Exeter had married Letitia (d 1756), the daughter of the Hon. Horatio Townshend, the 3rd son of Viscount Townshend, and the older brother of Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Townshend (1731-59), whose monument in Westminster Abbey had been designed by Robert Adam in 1760. Although Letitia had died by this time, it may have been through this family connection that Adam came to the 9th Earl's attention. Initially Adam only made designs for the interior of the house, and his design for the ceiling of the north hall was executed in 1767. Till has argued that Adam's unexecuted design for the Hell Staircase was speculative, but that the local surveyor, Thomas Lumby (d 1804), who executed the staircase in 1780-82, did so after Adam's design. A decade later Adam made unexecuted designs for a boathouse and a gateway for the western entrance to the park. These were both built later in a neo-Jacobean style for the 9th Earl's heir and nephew, the 1st Marquess of Exeter.
The interior of the courtyard was remodelled in 1828 by John Peter Grandy-Deering (1787-1850) for the 2nd Marquess of Exeter, but otherwise the house largely remains as in the 9th Earl's time. Since 1961 the house has been owned by a charitable trust established by the Cecil family, and is open to the public.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 5, 70; N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdon and Peterborough, 1968, pp. 190-93, 217-219, 223-25; E. Till, 'Capability Brown at Burghley', Country Life, 16 October 1975, p. 985; H. Colvin, 'Burghley House, Lincolnshire - I-II', Country Life, 23, 30 April 1992, p. 58; M. Richardson, 'A 'fair' drawing: a little known Adam design for Burghley', Apollo, Volume CXXXVI, Number 306, August 1992, pp. 87-88; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy 1701-1800, 1997, p. 343; D, King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 381-82, Volume II, pp. 207, 236, 243, 275
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 Burghley House, Lincolnshire: designs for the interior of the house, partly executed, and unexecuted designs for a boathouse and gateway for the 9th Earl of Exeter, 1765-79 (16)
- Designs for the interior decoration of the house, including the library, north hall, great staircase and an organ case (6)
- Designs for a boathouse and an entrance gateway (10)