Marquis of Granby: design for a picture frame, 1772(?) (1)
There is some confusion about the identity of Adam's patron for this design. It has previously been attributed to John Manners, known by his father's subsidiary title as Marquis of Granby (1721-70), being the eldest son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland. He served as MP for Grantham in 1741-54, and Cambridgeshire in 1754-70, and was an army officer, attaining the rank of Major General in 1755, and Commander in Chief of the land forces in Britain in 1766. In 1750 Granby had married Lady Frances Seymour, daughter of the 6th Duke of Somerset. Their son, Charles Manners (1754-87) succeeded his father as Marquis of Granby in 1770, and his grandfather as 4th Duke of Rutland in 1779. Charles Manners served as MP for Cambridge in 1774-79, was Lord Lieutenant of Leicester in 1779-87, and Viceroy of Ireland in 1784-87, as well as Lord Steward of the Household in February-April 1783, and Lord Privy Seal in 1783-84. Unlike his father, Charles did not undertake a military career, although he was given the honorary position of Colonel of the Leicestershire militia when the French entered the American War of Independence.
This design for a picture frame is dated 27th October 1772, suggesting that the earlier attribution to John Manners, who died in 1770, is incorrect, and that his son, Charles was Adam’s patron. The iconography within the design, however, offers some doubt about the accuracy of the date on this drawing. The design makes use of Rutland unicorns (unicorns are the supporters to the Rutland arms), as well as military trophies. John, but not Charles, was a military man. Either the drawing is incorrectly dated and it was indeed commissioned by the John, prior to his death in 1770, or the design was commissioned by Charles, in 1772, possibly for a portrait of his military father. The intended location for this frame is not known, and it is not known to have been executed.
Literature: A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 55, 72; E. Harris, The furniture of Robert Adam, 1963, Index p. 59; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy: 1701-1800, 1997, p. 418; C. Mosley (ed.), Burke's peerage, baronetage & knightage, 2003, p. 3446-50; History of Parliament online: 'Manners, John, Mq. of Granby (1721-70)', and 'Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland (1754-87)'