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George Hesse, interior decoration and furnishings for number 1 or 2, Adam Street

Notes

It is unclear who Mr Hesse was, or where he lived. One George Adam Calcraft Hesse, an army agent ‘Computer of the Off-Reckonings', certainly did live at the Adelphi as he killed himself in his library there in 1788 with his own travelling pistol. This George Hesse had married Elizabeth Gunthorpe in 1774, the daughter of a West Indian plantation owner, possibly the William Gunthorpe who was the first resident of number 1 Adam Street in 1771-75. The Survey of London lists a Mr Hesse at number 1 Adam Street in 1779-87, and a Mr Hesse – quite probably a different man, possibly a relation – at number 2 Adam Street in 1783-87. Who the ‘George F Hesse’ listed on Adam’s drawings was, is not known. It is possible, therefore, that these drawings listed for George Hesse, were intended for two different men in two different houses: the carpet, mirrors and girandole being for the George Hesse who lived at number 1 from 1779, and the drawing room ceiling, and two chimneypieces being for the George Hesse who lived at number 2 from 1783.

I am particularly grateful to Colin Thom of the Survey of London for the above information.

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

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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 George Hesse, interior decoration and furnishings for number 1 or 2, Adam Street