Bedford Square, number 8, designs for ceilings and a frieze, for George Stainforth, c1779, unexecuted (5)
Developed as part of the Bedford Estate in the late eighteenth century, Bedford Square and its surrounding streets are an excellent example of early town planning. The 520ft by 320ft square was constructed between 1775 and 1780 on land previously reserved for pasture. Each side of the square was executed to a uniform design: brick embellished with stucco, wrought-iron balconies and Coade stone ornamentation. The central house of each block was surmounted by a pediment articulated by Ionic pilasters.
Unfortunately there are no surviving drawings for Bedford Square, but it was probably the work of the architect Thomas Leverton who took up one of the earliest leases in the square. A number of plots were also leased to the builders Robert Crews/Grews and William Scott who, working alongside Leverton, were possibly responsible for the construction of the square and its surrounding streets as part of a speculative project.
The Adam office designs for No. 8 Bedford Square concern ceilings for the front and back drawing rooms for one George Stainforth. The designs are dated to 1779, Stainforth therefore was one of the first residents of the square and it seems approached Adam with a view to improving the interiors of his new house. There is no evidence for the execution of the ceiling designs and an account dating to c1914 records them as plain and without design.
(eds. W. Edward Riley and L Gomme) ‘Bedford Square’, Survey of London: Volume 5, St Giles in-the-Fields Pt II, 1914, pp.150-151; A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index, p. 34; ‘Bedford Square’, www.historicengland.org.uk; ‘History of the Bloomsbury Estate’, www.bedfordestates.com (accessed December 2020)