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Thistleworth (now Gordon) House, Isleworth, Middlesex: executed designs for an extension; a greenhouse; and two variant unexecuted designs for a temple for Lieutenant General Humphrey Bland, 1758-63 (12)

1758-59
Lieutenant General Humphrey Bland (1686-1763) in 1755 married Elizabeth Dalrymple (1732-1816), daughter of the 2nd Earl of Stair. He was made Lieutenant General in 1747, and Governor of Edinburgh Castle in 1752, and would have been familar with the Adam Scottish office.

The house bought by Bland in 1757 was a small brick villa with a single large stair-hall, built for Moses Hart c1718 and possibly by James Gibbs. By January 1758 Adam was making designs to rearrange the house and build a south wing. The plan shows that he divided off Hart's stair-hall by a screen of columns from what he now labels an antichamber. The new drawing room, really a 'great room', was Adam's earliest executed interior following his Grand Tour. The extension was executed in accordance with Adam’s designs, but the first-floor windows have lost their original surrounds. The drawing room remains in situ though the original doors and doorcases are missing. Adam also designed and built a greenhouse, and offered two variant unexecuted designs for a garden temple.

Bland died without issue and the house was sold by his widow in 1816. It was extensively altered from 1868 for the 2nd Earl of Kilmorey, served as a public access college during the twentieth century, and is current under renovation to return it to a private residence.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 18; D. Stillman, The decorative work of Robert Adam, 1966, pp. 62, 96; B. Cherry and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 3: north west, 1991, pp. 431-433; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001,Volume I, p. 183, Volume II, pp. 184, 226

I am very grateful to John Harris for his generous help in writing this catalogue entry for Gordon House.

Frances Sands, 2011
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