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Montagu villa, (later Buccleuch House) Nightingale Lane, Richmond: unexecuted designs for a garden seat for the Duke of Montagu, 1772 (2)

1772
George Brudenell (1712-90), was the eldest son of the 3rd Earl of Cardigan, whom he succeeded in 1732 as 4th Earl. Although uninterested in the House of Lords, the 4th Earl was an active courtier, serving as Chief Justice in 1742-52, Governor to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, and a member of the Privy Council in 1776-80, Master of the Horse in 1780-90, and President of the Royal Society of Arts, St Luke’s Hospital, and vice-president of St George's Hospital. In 1730 he married Lady Mary Montagu (1710/11-75), daughter of the 2nd Duke of Montagu, on whose death in 1749 the 4th Earl of Cardigan assumed the name and coat of arms of Montagu. The Montagu dukedom became extinct in 1749, but in 1766, in recognition of his activities at court, the 4th Earl of Cardigan was created Marquess of Monthermer and Duke of Montagu (of the second creation). These titles would have been inherited by his only son John, but John predeceased his father, unmarried, in 1770. On the Duke of Montagu's death in 1790 the Earldom of Cardigan passed to his brother, the Barony of Montagu to his grandson, and his other titles, including the dukedom, became extinct.

At some time following the second creation of the Dukedom of Montagu in 1766, Montagu Villa had been built on the riverside in Richmond, to the designs of an unknown architect. In 1772 the duke commissioned Robert Adam to make designs for a garden seat for Montagu Villa. Although unexecuted, the design was published in the second volume of The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam (1779), and there is an identical drawing to the published engraving at the V&A Museum. At his death, the duke passed Montagu Villa - along with his entire fortune - to his daughter Elizabeth, 3rd Duchess of Buccleuch. The house was sold in the nineteenth century to Richmond Vestry, and in the 1930s it was bought by Richmond Council and demolished.

Literature:
R. & J. Adam, The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam, Volume II, 1779, part V, plate viii; A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 26, 81; A. Rowan, Robert Adam: catalogue of architectural drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1988, p. 86; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 223; Oxford dictionary of national biography online: 'Montagu, George Brudenell, duke of Montagu (1712-1790)'

Frances Sands, 2013
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