Barons Court (sometimes expressed as Baronscourt) was built in 1779-82 by the Scots architect George Steuart (c. 1730-1806) in his usual severe style and re-modelled by Soane less than a decade later. Soane's proposals were described by James Hamilton, Lord Abercorn's agent, as 'He just reverses the house; what was the back side is to be the entrance and the front part the rere. The drawing room, parlour and as far back of the hall as to the pillars is to be thrown into one great gallery ... (quoted from letter T2541/1A3/1/5, Abercorn papers, Public Record Office Northern Ireland by H. Dixon, op.cit., p.3). Soane carried out his intentions but on 14 December 1796 a fire broke out that destroyed the core of the building and only the offices with their quadrant wings remained. Under Robert Woodgate, the building was repaired and subsequently a further reconstruction was undertaken by William and Richard Morrison, 1835-43.
A.T.Bolton (curator, 1917-45) made careful (pen on linen) copies of five of Soane's drawings for Baronscourt: 'Plan of the Principal floor at Baronscourt house (Bolton 91/6/7 - SM 29/2/9, drawing 7), 'Plan of the Chamber Floor of Barons Court House' (Bolton 91/6/8 - SM 29/2/10 drawing 8), 'Elevation South' (Bolton 91/6/9 - SM29/2/17, drawing 2), 'Elevation North' and 'Screen to the Court' (Bolton 91/6/10 - SM 29/2/11 verso, drawing 6) 'Elevation of East Front' and of west front (Bolton 91/6/11 - SM 29/2/19, drawing 4).
Literature. J. Soane, Sketches in architecture ..., 1793 (pl.36-37); D.Stroud, Sir John Soane architect, 2nd ed. 1996, p.59 et seq; P.Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p.182; Irish Architectural Archive, (online) Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1840 (Woodgate)
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 Barons Court, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland; designs for alterations and additions for 1st Marquess of Abercorn, 1789-1795 (24)
- Designs for a greenhouse, 2 March 1789 (1)
- Survey drawings of existing house, March-April 1791 (7)
- Three variant preliminary designs, 14-15 May 1791 (3)
- Variant sketch designs for new principal (south) front (2)
- Description of proposals, c. May 1791
- Letter, dated 15 May 1791
- Two variant presentation designs, May 1791 (4)
- Further designs for alterations and additions, 1791-2, 1795 (3)
- Drawings made for exhibition at the Royal Academy, 1793 (2)