Two weeks after succeeding his brother, Robert Child married Sarah Jodrell (1741-93), the daughter of Gilbert Jodrell of Ankerwyke House, Buckinghamshire. Together they had one daughter, also Sarah, who eloped with John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland just two months before Child's death. Child did not approve of this union, and on his death, his entire fortune and property passed first to his wife Sarah, and on her death in 1793, to his eldest granddaughter, Lady Sarah Sophia Fane (1785-1867). A funerary monument was designed by Adam in memory of Robert Child, and the widowed Sarah Child is thought to have been the patron.
The monument was executed in accordance with Adam volume 19/81, against the south wall of the Church of St Leonard in Heston. It is composed of a sarcophagus containing an inscription panel, flanked by pedestals ornamented with crests, and surmounted by flaming urns, and the whole is set against a pyramid in relief, ornamented with an urn flanked by two mourning putti. One of these putti once held a circlular band and the other held an inverted torch but both of these tokens are now lost. The carver was Peter Matthias Van Gelder (1739-1809), and on the monument he included both his own name, and that of Robert Adam.
The Church of St Leonard is half a mile west of Osterley Park. Parts of the original medieval fabric survive, but it was largely rebuilt in 1863-66 by T. Bellamy (ND). The older funerary monuments, however, survive within the church, including that of Robert Child.
There is a drawing showing Robert Child's monument as executed within the collection at the V&A Museum. This, however, is not in an Adam office hand, and Rowan has suggested that it may be a copy made by the sculptor, Peter Matthias Van Gelder.
See also: Osterley Park, Hounslow, Greater London; Upton Park, Warwickshire; and 38 Berkeley Square, London
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume I, pp. 294-95, Volume II, Index p. 25; A. Rowan, Catalogues of architectural drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum: Robert Adam, 1988, p. 61; B. Cherry, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 3: northwest, 1991, pp. 423-24; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 364, 371-73, Volume II, p. 265; 'Child, Robert (1739-82), of Osterley Park, Midx.', History of Parliament online
Frances Sands, 2014
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 St Leonard's Church, Heston, Greater London: Monument to Robert Child, probably commissioned by Sarah Child, 1782, as executed (10)
- Alternative preliminary designs, designs and finished drawing for a funerary monument to Robert Child, 1782, Adam volume 19/81 as executed (10)