Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Drawings

London: Hereford Street, Grosvenor Square, Westminster: unexecuted designs for the Society of Dilettanti and for a library for Lord Camelford, 1784-1785 (2)

1784
The client was Thomas Pitt (1737-1793) nephew of the first Earl of Chatham (see Design for the Chatham mausoleum, 1778) and cousin to William Pitt the Younger (Prime Minister, 1783). Created Baron Camelford in 1784, Thomas Pitt was an amateur architect who befriended Soane during his Italian tour. That Soane did work work for him at Camelford House (on a site running from Oxford Street to North Row and built in about 1773-4) is confirmed by a letter sent to Pitt by Soane from Milan (dated August 1779) that mentions previous discussions about altering Pitt’s London townhouse, a sketch of which had been enclosed (SM ‘Original Sketches’ volume 42/182). Soane also worked on three of Thomas Pitt’s country properties: Petersham Lodge, Surrey, repairs and decorations, 1781-2; Westgate House, Burnham Market, Norfolk, additions and alterations, 1783 and Boconnoc, Cornwall, alterations and repairs, 1786 though none relates to a library. Pitt had already added a library and picture gallery to Boconnoc in 1772 (Colvin).

Thomas Pitt also owned two adjacent houses on the south side of Hereford Street near to his town house. Bought as a speculation in the form of unfinished shells, he considered offering them to the Society of Dilettanti (of which he was elected a member in 1763) as their headquarters. Soane enthusiastically worked up a scheme for which he exhibited a drawing at the Royal Academy in 1784, ‘Design for a museum’ (see No.1). This was later engraved and published as plates 46 and 47 in Soane’s Plans, elevations and sections of buildings (1789). The design for a library for Lord Camelford (No.2) may be for the same site in Hereford Street since though different in design the dimensions (52 by 20 feet) correspond with the larger of the three library rooms shown in No.1. A comparison shows that the latter has five windows and not three, and that the room is entered from adjacent library rooms and not from a short end wall as in the drawing No.2. Still, given the site, Soane’s design of February 1785 could have worked and, of course, the patron for both schemes is the same.
See also Volume 42/135: London: Bath house for (?) Thomas Pitt at Hereford Street, London, c.1779


Jill Lever, February 2006
Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 > >>  Next
Architectural & Other Drawings results view
Select list view result
Select thumbnail view result
Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 > >>  Next
Architectural & Other Drawings results view
Select list view result
Select thumbnail view result