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Cosgrove, Northamptonshire: unexecuted designs for a house for M. Mansel, 1799 (14)

It is not known whether Soane's design was to replace the early 18th century Cosgrove Hall or was for a new house on another site. B.Bailey and N.Pevsner, Northamptonshire, 2013,p.192 records (of the Hall) that 'The interior was much altered soon after 1800'. 'Cosgrove' is not inscribed on the drawings or the two records mentioned below but the association of the Mansel family with Cosgrove as a place is very strong. Little is known of Mr M. Mansel except for what can be deduced from the drawings. A Justice Room suggests that he was a magistrate and the unconventional placing of the kitchen on the principal floor could suggest a practical man. There is a letter from Mr Mansell (SM1M1, dated 28 May 1799) enclosing a rough plan and giving a list of rooms required (including a kitchen on the ground floor). Mention is made of Mr Praed, a banker known to Soane, in terms of a loan.

The Soane office Journal No.4 has an entry dated 12 June 1799 which records five drawings (two floor plans, two elevations and a perspective) sent to Mr Mansel on the 'Wellingboro Coach'. The next and last entry is dated 30 June 1815 and is a request for £31.10.0 outstandng and ends 'Mr Soane presents his / Comps to Mr Mansel, & / presumes the foregoing ---- (illegible] / has escaped his memory...''

Seward was the draughtsman for Mr Mansel's house. He is shown in the office Day Book as making drawings for Mr Mansel on 5-11 June and again on 26 June. On the 12 June five drawings for' M Mansel Esqre' were sent by the 'Willingborough / Coach [with] the following / No.1 Plan of Hall Floor / 2 do Chamber / 3 Elevation of Entrance / do next Lawn / 5 Perspective on 4 & ½ sheets of / Imperial'.
The last of the 14 drawings catalogued here, a colourfull perspective, is dated 20 September 1799.

Jill Lever
October 2015
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