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London: Cardigan House, Richmond Hill: survey drawings and designs for additions, 1795-1797 (6)

Cardigan House (the name came later) was built for Robert Sayer (1725-94, a print publisher and seller) on the site of an older, smaller house between 1791 and 1793. The architect was Robert Mylne (1733-1811). In 1794, the Duke of Clarence rented it furnished from Sayer for £420 a year. Soane's survey drawings are dated November 1795 and his design drawings are dated January 1797. In June of that year, because of a fire that severely damaged Cardigan House, the Duke of Clarence moved out. He had lived there with the actress Mrs Jordan and the first three of their ten children. Soane's participation in additions to the house came to an end.

A letter in the Soane Museum green files gives evidence for Mylne as the original architect of Cardigan House though it is not listed in H.Colvin's A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 2008. The letter (12 June 1992) is from John Cloake FSA (1924-2014), author of several books on Richmond. Using rate books and vestry minutes as well as Mylne's professional diaries (in the RIBA Library since 1986 and not the 'grossley inaccurate transcript of the diaries published by A.E.Richardson', Colvin op.cit. p.722) Cloake established the early history of the house as well as Mylne's involvement.

Cardigan House was purchased by the British Legion in 1925, the garden was largely absorbed into the nearby public gardens at about the same time. The house was demolished in 1970.

Jill Lever
April 2015
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