- Robert and James Adam office drawings
Number 3 Royal Terrace was the fourth house in the terrace, located to the east of the centre of the block, overlooking the River Thames.
The first resident of this house in 1772-76 was Topham Beauclerk (1739-80), who paid an annual rent of £264.12s. with an additional fee of £35.10s per annum for one of the stables and coach houses in the arches below.
The Hon. Topham Beauclerk (1739-80) was the only son of the great fortune hunter Lord Sydney Beauclerk MP (1703-44), and grandson of the 1st Duke of St Albans. He is best known as the great-grandson of Charles II and Nell Gwynn, and the friend of Dr Samuel Johnson, whom he met at Trinity College, Oxford, and of James Boswell. He was an amateur chemist, and a bibliophile, with a collection of over 30,000 books. The books were mortgaged to the Duke of Marlborough, and were sold in 1781, following Beauclerk’s death, for £5,011. In 1768 Beauclerk married Lady Diana Spencer (1734-1808), an artist, and the eldest daughter of the 4th Duke of Marlborough. The marriage took place two days after her divorce was finalised from Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke. Her first marriage had been unhappy on account of the Viscount’s infidelity, but the divorce was prompted by her affair with Beauclerk.
At his country home, The Grove in Muswell Hill, Beauclerk had commissioned Adam in 1770 to make designs for a curtain wall around his observatory there, and for the interior decoration of his wife’s dressing room. None of this was executed, but he must have developed a interest in Adam’s style, as evidenced by his tenancy of this house.
Later, in 1919-36, the resident of the house was William, 1st Baron Weir.
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 Number 3, Royal Terrace
- Preliminary design and finished drawing for the ceiling for the front drawing room, 1769, as executed (2)
- Design for the chimneypiece for the front drawing room, c1769-70, executed with minor alterations at number 4 Royal Terrace (1)
- Finished drawing for the ceiling for the back drawing room, 1769, as executed (1)
- Design for the chimneypiece for the back drawing room, c1769-70; it is not known if this design was executed (1)
- Design for the chimneypiece for the front parlour, c1769-70; it is not known if this design was executed (1)