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The Elms, Epsom, Surrey: designs for alterations to the house, and for the interior, and unexecuted designs for estate buildings, for Anthony Chamier, 1774-76 (15)

1774-76
Anthony Chamier (1725-80), was the son of a French Huguenot merchant, Daniel Chamier (1696-1741). The family had sought refuge in London in 1691. Anthony Chamier worked as a stockbroker, and later became a financier, and a financial advisor to the governments of Newcastle and Bute. In 1763 he was appointed to the war office, in which he fulfilled various offices, becoming Undersecretary at War in 1772. In 1775 he was made Undersecretary for State. He then served as MP for Tamworth in 1778-80. Chamier was also a founder-member of the Literary Club in 1764, becoming friends with Samuel Johnson, Henry Thrale, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. In 1753 he married Dorothy Wilson, daughter of Robert Wilson, a merchant, of Woodford, Essex, but they had no children, and Chamier was succeeded by his nephew John Deschamps (1754-1831).

In 1765 Chamier purchased three estates in Surrey including The Elms and Fennells Place, and he engaged Adam to make designs for alterations to both. He first worked at Fennells Place, and then from 1774 he made designs for the park and house at The Elms. The Elms had been built in c1715 and it was the house in which Chamier was living at the time of his death. Adam made designs for the ceilings of the hall, ante room, dining room and drawing room, and the addition of two large rooms. These changes were certainly made, but it is not known if the executed works follow the surviving drawings as the house was demolished in c1825. Moreover, Adam made designs for a conservatory, a garden seat, and a temple, but these were not executed.

Now known as Clock House, the Elms was replaced with the extant house in the 1820s, although this was also called the Elms for around a century.

See also: Fennells Place, Ewell, Surrey

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, index pp. 13, 65; E. Harris, The furniture of Robert Adam, 1963, Index p. 49; I. Nairn, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Surrey, 1971, p. 219; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 179, 213, Volume II, pp. 183, 218; J. Brooke, 'Chamier, Anthony (1725-80), of Epsom, Surrey', History of Parliament online, 2012

Frances Sands, 2012
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