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La Trappe (later Brandenburg House), Hammersmith, Middlesex: unexecuted designs for a garden pavilion, and a dressing room chimneypiece for George Bubb Dodington, Lord Melcombe, 1762 (9)

1762
George Bubb Dodington (1691-1762), an ambitious politician, married Katherine Beaghan (d1756) in c1725, he joined the Society of Dilettanti in 1742, he served as envoy to Spain in 1715-17, and as MP (Whig) for Winchelsea in 1715-61, and Bridgewater in 1722-54. He also held several lucrative government positions, for example he was a lord commissioner on the Treasury Board in 1724-40, he was Treasurer of the Navy in 1744-51 and 1755-56, and was the Prince of Wales' Treasurer of the Chamber in 1749-51. He was an ambitious man, keen to rise to a peerage, and Horace Walpole described him as 'the vilest man, vain, ambitious, loose, and never to be satisfied. He wants now to be a lord and when he is that he will want to be a duke', and he was, indeed, created Baron Melcombe of Melcombe Regis in 1761.

In 1720 Dodington had inherited Eastbury, Dorset, from his financier uncle, George Dodington (1658-1720). The house was completed, at a cost of £140,000, by Roger Morris (1695-1749), having been started by his uncle in 1718 to designs by Sir John Vanbrugh (1644-1726). Morris was also to build Dodington's house in Hammersmith, La Trappe, located beside the River Thames. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in both properties, as well as his townhouse on Pall Mall, Melcombe 'surrounded himself in tasteless splendour'.

In 1757-61 Dodington (later Melcombe) was in correspondence with the Earl of Bute, and this may explain why, shortly before his death in 1762, he employed Robert Adam to make designs for La Trappe. These were for a large and ornamental garden pavilion, and a chimneypiece for his dressing room. Neither was executed, presumably on account of Melcombe's death. However, plans and an elevation of the house (later called Brandenburg House) are given in the fourth volume of Vitruvius Britannicus (1767). Melcombe died at La Trappe, and everything but the Eastbury estate - which was entailed to Richard Grenville, 1st Earl Temple - was inherited by his cousin, Thomas Wyndham. La Trappe was demolished in 1822, and Cherry and Pevsner describe it as 'lost without trace'.

Literature:
J. Woolfe, and J. Gandon, Vitruvius Britannicus IV, 1767, p. 5 and pls. 26-27; A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 39, 80; B. Cherry, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 3: north west, 1991, p. 227; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy 1701-1800, 1997, p. 304; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 215

Frances Sands
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