Signed and dated
Built for Andrew Barker in 1661-2 by Valentine Strong (d.1662 and completed by Strong's eldest son Thomas) the design is known only from Kip's engraved bird's eye view of about 1710. 'This almost perfect Restoration composition was however much altered in the C18; the house c.1740 and the grounds c. 1750-60 to Rococo taste ...' (D.Verey. A.Brooks, op.cit., p.370). Soane remodelled the house, 1789-90. His Journal No1 has an entry for 22 May 1789: 'Sanders went to Fairford this Eveng / to take plans of the House / & Offices; retd the 26', other entries follow and finish with 'Received in full April 1791 £227:8:6'.
After use as an American military hospital, the Barker family sold Fairford House in 1945 and the house (not the estate) was eventually bought by Gloucestershire County Council and became the site for Farmor's Comprehensive School.
The orangery once at Fairford House has been attributed to Soane, but there is no evidence for this in his office ledgers. Howard Colvin (letter to Soane Musuem of 13 March 2004) commented that that 'though fairly conventional it looks quite plausible as an early work (cf. Earsham Music Room [q.v.])' but decided because of the lack of documentary evidence not to include it in his Biographical dictionaryof British architects .... The orangery was dismantled and in the care of the National Trust until re-erected at Sledmere House, East Yorkshire.
Literature D. Verey & A. Brooks, Gloucestershire 1: the Cotswolds, 3rd ed., 1999, pp.369-70
Jill Lever October 2011
Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation
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