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Thistleworth (now Gordon) House, Isleworth, Middlesex: executed designs for an extension; a greenhouse; and two variant unexecuted designs for a temple for Lieutenant General Humphrey Bland, 1758-63 (12)

1758-59
Lieutenant General Humphrey Bland (1686-1763) in 1755 married Elizabeth Dalrymple (1732-1816), daughter of the 2nd Earl of Stair. He was made Lieutenant General in 1747, Governor of Gibraltar in 1749-51, and Governor of Edinburgh Castle in 1752, and would have been familar with the Adam Scottish office.

The house bought by Bland in 1757 was a small brick villa with a single large stair-hall, built for Moses Hart c1718 and possibly by James Gibbs. By January 1758 Adam was making designs to rearrange the house and build a south wing. The plan shows that he divided off Hart's stair-hall by a screen of columns from what he now labels an antichamber. The new drawing room, really a 'great room', was Adam's earliest executed interior following his Grand Tour. The extension was executed in accordance with Adam’s designs, but the first-floor windows have lost their original surrounds. The drawing room remains in situ though the original doors and doorcases are missing. Adam also designed and built a greenhouse, and offered two variant unexecuted designs for a garden temple.

Bland died without issue and the house was sold by his widow in 1816. It was extensively altered from 1868 for the 2nd Earl of Kilmorey, served as a public access college during the twentieth century, and is current under renovation to return it to a private residence.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 18; D. Stillman, The decorative work of Robert Adam, 1966, pp. 62, 96; B. Cherry and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 3: north west, 1991, pp. 431-433; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001,Volume I, p. 183, Volume II, pp. 184, 226; J.A. Houldin, 'Bland, Humphrey' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online

I am very grateful to John Harris for his generous help in writing this catalogue entry for Gordon House.

Frances Sands, 2011
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