Ardencaple was a small twelfth-century castle, and parts of this original structure survived until the nineteenth century. The sole remaining tower is now a lighthouse for ships on the Firth of Clyde, and is called Ardencaple Castle Light. It originally belonged to the Lairds of Ardencaple, the Clan MacAulay. The MacAulay fortunes were diminished by the eighteenth century, and the roof of Ardencaple fell in. The estate was purchased in c1752 by the 3rd Duke of Argyll for Lord Frederick Campbell, and remained in the possession of the Campbell family until 1852. Under Campbell the castle was redeveloped to designs by Adam. The first, unexecuted scheme to renovate and regularise the house, with a castle-style addition to the west front was made in 1764. Unexecuted designs were made in 1769 by Robert Mylne (1733-1811), but then in 1774 Adam designed and built a D-shaped addition, flanked by turrets, for the southern half of the west front. Early photographs show that the design was slightly altered in execution, for example the crow-stepped gable was omitted, and an additional storey appears to have been added later. Adam also made designs for castle gates, which are not dated, and were not executed.
After the castle was sold it passed through various hands, until it was requisitioned by the Navy during the Second World War. The Navy demolished the majority of the fabric in 1957, creating space for a housing estate for a nearby naval base, but one tower was retained for use as a lighthouse.
See also: Combe Bank, Sevenoaks, Kent; Petersham Lodge, Richmond.
Gentleman's Magazine, March 1792; A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 2, 27, 65; F.A. Walker, The buildings of Scotland: Argyll and Bute, 2000, p. 273; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 221-22, Volume II, p. 215; 'Campbell, Lord Frederick (1729-1816), of Ardencaple, Dunbarton, and Combe Bank, Kent', The history of Parliament online; 'Campbell, Frederick (1729-1816), of Combe Bank, Sevenoaks, Ken', The history of Parliament online
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 Ardencaple, Helensburgh: executed and unexecuted designs for additions to the house, and the interior, and for unexecuted castle gates for Lord Frederick Campbell, 1762-74 (14)
- Variant designs for a chimneypiece, 1762 (3)
- Designs for additions to the house, 1764, unexecuted (4)
- Design for a bookcase, 1767 (1)
- Design for a stairwell, 1772 (1)
- Preliminary designs for an addition to the house, 1774, as executed (2)
- Design for a ceiling for the dressing room, 5 May 1774, as executed (1)
- Design for the ante room, 1764 (1)
- Design for a gatehouse, N.D. unexecuted (1)