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Arlington Street, number 19, London: unexecuted designs for an extension, and executed designs for interior decoration, for Sir Lawrence Dundas, 1763-66, (11)

Signed and dated

  • 1763-66


Sir Lawrence Dundas of Kelso (1712-81) was the second son of Thomas Dundas of Fingask, a moderately successful draper. In 1738 he married Margaret Bruce, the daughter of Alexander Bruce of Kennet, Clackmannanshire. They had one son, Thomas Dundas (1750-94, created 1st Baron Dundas of Aske, and father of the 1st Earl of Zetland). Sir Lawrence began his career as a wine merchant, but was to amass a great fortune working as Commissary-General and contractor to the army during the Seven Years War. This enabled him to purchase estates all over England, Scotland, and Ireland, to forge a political career, and buy his way into the Whig elite. Dundas served as MP for Linlithgow Burghs in 1747-48, for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1762-68, for Edinburgh in 1768-80 and 1781, and for Richmond in 1780-81. He was also a governor of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1764-77. In addition to this, Sir Lawrence successfully negotiated a baronetcy in 1762, having made a considerable loan to the Earl of Shelburne.

In 1763 Sir Lawrence purchased 19 Arlington Street for £15,000. The entire street had been built by Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington from 1682, on land which had previously been part of Green Park. The majority of the houses had been rebuilt in the 1730s, including number 11, which was rebuilt in 1732-38 for Lord Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, to designs by an unknown architect. Harris has suggested that Isaac Ware (1704-66) or Henry Flitcroft (1697-1769) are 'likely candidates'.

As at his country estate in Hertfordshire, Moor Park, Sir Lawrence employed Robert Adam to make designs to alter and refit the house. According to Arthur Bolton, during the years 1763-68 Sir Lawrence spent £9,000 on the architectural works at Moor Park and 19 Arlington Street. Adam made designs for an additional wing to be built at the rear of the townhouse, facing Green Park, and to contain a new great room. Nothing came of these designs, although Adam did make alterations to the interior of the house. However, in order to make his designs for this unexecuted extension Adam made survey drawings of the house (Adam volume 32/52-53). These are the only graphic record of the building prior to its demolition.

Following Sir Lawrence's death, Moor Park was sold by his son Thomas in 1784. The contents were dispersed within 19 Arlington Street and another Dundas property, Aske Hall, Richmond, Yorkshire. 19 Arlington Street remained the townhouse of the Dundas family, by then elevated to Marquesses of Zetland, until its demolition in 1936. Various items were removed to Aske Hall, and others were sold at Sotheby's. 17-20 Arlington Street is now rebuilt as mansion flats.

See also: Moor Park

A.T. Bolton, '19 Arlington Street: a residence of the Marquess of Zetland', Country Life, 17 September 1921, pp. 350-354; A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, pp. 301-3, Index pp. 34, 69; E. Harris, The furniture of Robert Adam, 1963, pp. 53, 65, 77, 91, 99-100; A. Coleridge, 'Sir Laurence Dundas and Chippendale', Apollo, September 1967, p. 198; J. Harris, 'The Dundas empire', Apollo, September 1967, pp. 176-77; G. Beard, The work of Robert Adam, 1978, p. 66; Christie's sale catalogue, 'Dundas masterpieces: the property of the Marquess of Zetland and the 3rd Marquess of Zetland's will trust', 3 July 1997; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 237, 307-8; S. Bradley, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 6: Westminster, 2003, pp. 602, 605; E. Harris, The country houses of Robert Adam: from the archives of Country Life, 2007, pp. 143-44; 'Dundas, Sir Laurence, 1st Bt. (c.1710-81), of Kerse, Stirling and Aske, nr. Richmond, Yorks.', History of Parliament online; www.collections.vam.ac.uk: The Moor Park candlestands

Frances Sands, 2012



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Contents of Arlington Street, number 19, London: unexecuted designs for an extension, and executed designs for interior decoration, for Sir Lawrence Dundas, 1763-66, (11)