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Mr Stevenson, design for a castellated house of unknown location, 1783 and 1794 (13)

Signed and dated

  • 1783-94


There are two different unexecuted designs for a castellated house for an unknown location, one dated 1783 and the other 1794, both attributed to the patronage of a Mr Stevenson. This attribution has previously been questioned as, in the majority of cases, the name was inscribed later by William Adam. It is true that William's inscriptions are not always correct, but drawings 5 and 9, (one for each scheme) are also inscribed as being for Mr Stevenson in an office hand. As such both designs can be firmly attributed to this patron.

It has been suggested by Rowan that the Mr Stevenson is question was Nathaniel Stevenson of Braidwood, Lanarkshire. One of the drawings for the 1794 scheme (Adam volume 33/73) is inscribed Elevation towards the River, and Braidwood is known to have overlooked the Vale of Clyde. The inclusion of domestic and agricultural facilities and modest reception rooms suggest that the house was designed for 'a landed family of modest consequence'. According to Rowan, however, an alternative identity for Mr Stevenson could be Dr Alexander Stevenson, a medical physician from Glasgow. Unfortunately there is no evidence in either case.

See also: Hertford Street, number unknown, London: unexecuted design for a ceiling for the drawing room for Mrs Stevenson. It is not known if Mrs Stevenson of Hertford Street was any relation to the Mr Stevenson who commissioned these designs for a castellated house.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 58; A. Rowan, Designs for castles and country villas by Robert and James Adam, 1985, pp. 122, 150; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 157-58, 163, 166

Frances Sands, 2012



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

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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 Mr Stevenson, design for a castellated house of unknown location, 1783 and 1794 (13)