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Fairford House, Gloucestershire: (executed) alterations for John Raymond Barker, 1789-1790 (9)

1789
Built for Andrew Barker in 1661-2 by Valentine Strong (d.1662 and completed by Strong's eldest son Thomas) the design is known only from Kip's engraved bird's eye view of about 1710. 'This almost perfect Restoration composition was however much altered in the C18; the house c.1740 and the grounds c. 1750-60 to Rococo taste ...' (D.Verey. A.Brooks, op.cit., p.370). Soane remodelled the house, 1789-90. His Journal No1 has an entry for 22 May 1789: 'Sanders went to Fairford this Eveng / to take plans of the House / & Offices; retd the 26', other entries follow and finish with 'Received in full April 1791 £227:8:6'.

After use as an American military hospital, the Barker family sold Fairford House in 1945 and the house (not the estate) was eventually bought by Gloucestershire County Council and became the site for Farmor's Comprehensive School.

The orangery once at Fairford House has been attributed to Soane but there is no evidence for this in his office ledgers. Howard Colvin (letter to Soane Musuem of 13 March 2004) commented that that 'though fairly conventional it looks quite plausible as an early work (cf. Earsham Music Room [q.v.])' but decided because of the lack of documentary evidence not to include it in his Biographical dictionaryof British architects .... The orangery was dismantled and in the care of the National Trust until re-erected at Sledmere House, East Yorkshire.


Literature D. Verey & A. Brooks, Gloucestershire 1: the Cotswolds, 3rd ed., 1999, pp.369-70


Jill Lever October 2011
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