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Finished drawings for the library, 1764, unexecuted (2)

In 1764 Lord Mansfield decided to balance Bute's orangery wing to the south-west of the house with a new library wing on the south-east. This library was to serve a dual purpose, also being the principal reception room of the house.

James Adam made these unexecuted designs for Mansfield's library in the year following his return from the Grand Tour. These are his first known designs after his return, and were intended to launch his career as an architect, and as his brother Robert's partner.

It is important to note that the scale of the two designs is different, Adam volume 11/110 shows a square ceiling, and Adam volume 11/111 shows a rectangular ceiling, but both are for the library, and follow the same design. It would appear that at this stage of James Adam's design the geometry of the new library wing was undecided. Both ceilings include rectangular panels showing Roman judgement scenes, presumably in reference to Mansfield's profession.

In the end Mansfield's library was executed to designs by Robert Adam (Adam volumes 11/112-113, 14/113-115, 22/234), and although his designs composed a more attractive, cohesive, and successful room than James's would have done, it is worth noting that the variant designs are not entirely dissimilar to one another.
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