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Mr Stevenson, design for a castellated house of unknown location, 1783 and 1794 (13)

1783-94
There are two different unexecuted designs for a castellated house for an unknown location, one dated 1783 and the other 1794, both attributed to the patronage of a Mr Stevenson. This attribution has previously been questioned as, in the majority of cases, the name was inscribed later by William Adam. It is true that William's inscriptions are not always correct, but drawings 5 and 9, (one for each scheme) are also inscribed as being for Mr Stevenson in an office hand. As such both designs can be firmly attributed to this patron.

It has been suggested by Rowan that the Mr Stevenson is question was Nathaniel Stevenson of Braidwood, Lanarkshire. One of the drawings for the 1794 scheme (Adam volume 33/73) is inscribed Elevation towards the River, and Braidwood is known to have overlooked the Vale of Clyde. The inclusion of domestic and agricultural facilities and modest reception rooms suggest that the house was designed for 'a landed family of modest consequence'. According to Rowan, however, an alternative identity for Mr Stevenson could be Dr Alexander Stevenson, a medical physician from Glasgow. Unfortunately there is no evidence in either case.

A more recent speculation as to the identity of Mr Stevenson is Alexander Stevenson of Dalgain, Ayrshire. He was the son of a physicisn in Edinburgh, but graduated at Glasgow. He was twice president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (1752, 1773) and was also Regius Professor of Medicine (1766-89). He was elected Clerk of the Senate in 1777, and was also a co-founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. He persuaded Glasgow University in 1786 to subscribe £500 to the building fund for Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He resided at 34 Virginia Street, Glasgow in 1755-91.

See also: Hertford Street, number unknown, London: unexecuted design for a ceiling for the drawing room for Mrs Stevenson. It is not known if Mrs Stevenson of Hertford Street was any relation to the Mr Stevenson who commissioned these designs for a castellated house.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 58; A. Rowan, Designs for castles and country villas by Robert and James Adam, 1985, pp. 122, 150; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 157-58, 163, 166

With thanks to researcher, Mark Dougan.

Frances Sands, 2012
Updated 2021
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