It is probable that the connection between Soane and Milles was Lees Court (q.v.). In 1785 Milles only daughter Mary (1767-1818) married Hon. Lewis Thomas Watson (1754-1806), son of Lewis Watson, 1st Baron Sondes (1728-95), who owned Lees Court. Nackington passed to the Barons Sondes through Mary on Milles death. Soane was closely involved in the work at Nackington, making eleven journeys to the site between 12 June 1786 and 10 April 1787, five direct from Lees Court including the first two in June and July 1786 (SM Ledger A, p. 112).
Soane and Milles were quick to agree on the designs for the new addition (drawing 1). Soane’s first visit to survey the site was 12 June 1786. On 20 June he sent 'Two fair Drawings of design / for Room, viz, 1 plan & Section of 4 sides / of Room, 1 Elevation of do. on sheets / of Royal paper each, One Working Drawing of Plan / & Elevation, One Section on ½ sheet of / Cartridge paper' (SM Accompt book 1781, p. 152). The whereabouts of these designs is currently unknown. By 20 July 1786 Soane returned to 'settle the Works proposed to be done in altering the house', for which measurements were taken on 25 August 1786 (SM Ledger A, p. 112).
On 4 September 1786 Soane made a further journey to settle ‘other alterations’ (SM Ledger A, p. 112), presumably the internal alterations (drawings 2-4) which included the ‘Library... Study, Eating Parlor, Dressg Room, Staircase and Water Closet’ (SM Bill book no. 1, pp. 2-3). Only a design for an external doorcase (drawings 5-6) would appear to be somewhat of an afterthought as archival records relating to 'the frontispiece' do not appear until January 1787 (SM Order Book 1787 No. 1, pp. 45-51, 53).
None of Soane's work survives. After being used as a hospital during the First World War Nackington fell into disrepair and was demolished in c. 1922. In 1996 several Tudor-style homes were built on the site (P. Dean, p. 176).
Literature. P. Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p. 176; E. Hasted, The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent, 1800, pp. 291-99
Joanna Tinworth, September 2011
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 Nackington, Kent: (executed) alterations and additions for Richard Milles, 1786-1787 (6)
- Record drawing of a design for an addition, probably the drawing room, June 1786
- Record drawings of details for the drawing room and adjacent book room, one dated 9 September 1786 (2)
- Record drawing of details for an unidentified room
- Record drawings of a design for a doorcase, January 1787 (2)