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Saville Row, number 10, London: designs for interior decoration for Sir John Griffin Griffin Bt (later 4th Lord Howard de Walden), 1778 (9)

Signed and dated

  • 1778


10 Saville Row was built in 1735 as part of Lord Burlington's development of the area. The street originally only had houses on the east side. It was a brick house of four storeys over a basement, and according to the Survey of London was built on a particularly deep and narrow plot. Although listed here on Saville Row, it is likely that the house also had an entrance on New Burlington Street, as it is included in the London rate books in that location.

The house was substantially remodelled and redecorated from 1778 by Sir John Griffin Griffin (formerly John Griffin Whitewell) (1719-97), to designs by Robert Adam. Sir John was MP for Andover (Whig) in 1749-84, and an army officer. He served in the Austrian War of Succession, and the Seven Years War, eventually rising to the rank of General in 1778, Field Marshal in 1796, and was installed as Knight of the Bath for his military service. In 1784 he established a claim to the Barony of Howard de Walden through his maternal grandmother, and became the 4th Baron. Later, in 1788, he was also created 1st Baron Braybrooke. Sir John married twice, first Anna Maria (d1764), daughter of John, Baron Schutz in the Holy Roman Empire, and in 1765 he married Catherine (d1807), daughter of William Clayton of Harleyford. Despite this he died without an heir and his titles went into abeyance.

Although only a handful of Adam's drawings for 10 Saville Row survive, it appears from his accounts that considerable work was undertaken. The rooms mentioned most often are the staircase hall, the drawing room, the ante room, and (Catherine) Lady Griffin's dressing room, and there are designs for all of these in the Soane Museum, along with drawings for the dining room. It is not known if the surviving drawings represent the executed designs as the house was rebuilt in 1864.

See also: Audley End, Essex; Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex: Monument to Elizabeth, Countess of Portsmouth

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 50, 73; The Survey of London, 1963, Volume 32, pp. 493-95; S. Bradley, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 6: Westminster, 2003, p. 568; 'Griffin, John Griffin (1719-97), of Audley End, Essex', The history of Parliament online

Frances Sands, 2012



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

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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 Saville Row, number 10, London: designs for interior decoration for Sir John Griffin Griffin Bt (later 4th Lord Howard de Walden), 1778 (9)