Dashwood inherited his father's estates in 1724, but it was not until shortly after his marriage to Sarah Ellis, the widow of Sir Richard Ellis, in 1745, that he started to make alterations to the house and park at West Wycombe. He had a great interest in recent discoveries of ancient Greek architecture and commissioned designs from Nicholas Revett (1721-1804). However, John Donowell (d.1793) was responsible for much of the executed work, and a plan and elevation by Donowell are included in the fifth volume of Vitruvius Britannicus (1771). The earlier house had been built by the 1st Baronet (c1658-1724), shortly after he received his baronetcy from Queen Anne (1707). This replaced a seventeenth-century house on a nearby site. There is a plan of West Wycombe Park and a full account of the history of the building in the National Trust guidebook.
Robert Adam had been working in the area local to West Wycombe: at Shardeloes from 1759, and on the High Wycombe Shambles and Butter Market in 1761. It is assumed that this is how he came into contact with Dashwood. Adam was to make an unexecuted design for the stables, for which no drawings survive in the Soane Museum, and the west portico of the house itself, for which there is one drawing at the Soane, and a more finished version at the house. The west portico was built, but to a different design by Nicholad Revett, but using Adam's idea of a giant Ionic portico. Dashwood rebuilt the church in 1763 and Bolton suggests that Adam's association with West Wycombe had come to an end by that date. As such the likely timeframe for his involvement there is c1761-62.
See also: Hanover Square, number 18
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume I, pp. 52, 57-59, Volume II, Index p. 17; G. Worsley, 'West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire', Country Life, 6 September 1990; N. Pevsner, and E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, 1994, pp. 727-28; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 183, 226; The National Trust, West Wycombe Park: Buckinghamshire, 2001, pp. 6-63
Frances Sands, 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.
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