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Hill House, Putney Heath, three schemes for Sir Samuel Hannay, 3rd Bt., c1786-7, unexecuted (25)

Signed and dated

  • c1786-7


Sir Samuel Hannay, 3rd Bt. (c1742-90), was the second son of William Hannay of Kirkdale and his wife Margaret (née Johnston). Hannay had significant interests in both the city and in shipping, and cultivated a sizeable personal fortune, which he subsequently lost. On 4 November 1760, he was married to Mary (née Meade) the daughter of Dr Robert Meade of Teddington, with whom he had five sons and four daughters. In September 1783 he was made 3rd Baronet of Mochrum, as heir to Sir Robert Hannay the 1st Baronet, who had died in 1658, the title itself having been dormant since 1689.

In the 1784 election he stood for Ilchester, but was defeated. He was then appointed MP for Camelford, standing in the interest of Sir Jonathan Phillips. Initially Hannay sided with the Pitt administration, but moved to the opposition in 1788 as a result of the Regency crisis. In the 1790 election Hannay was successful with a second return for Camelford, with parliament opening on 23 November that year. However on 11 December Hannay died very suddenly at his home in Portland Place, London.

His obituary in The Gentleman’s Magazine notes Hannay as having formerly pursued a career as an eminent London chemist, and at the time of his death he was in partnership with one William Duncan, a chemist based in Philpot Lane.
He was succeeded by his brother, Col. Alexander Hannay of the East India Company. Upon his death Hannay was reported to have owed £200,000, and as a result his brother Alexander was obliged to rescue the family estate.

The Adam office produced three separate schemes for Sir Samuel Hannay’s Hill House on Putney Heath. The first two schemes, elaborate in design, are for new elegant villas. The third scheme, far more modest in plan, is for additions to be made to an earlier square building, extending the principal and rear façade from three bays to five.

The designs for the first scheme are included in SM Adam volume 46, the volume which Rowan argues preserves villa and castle designs intended for a publication, but ultimately never completed. It is interesting to note that the second scheme, the most elaborate of the three, is not included in SM Adam volume 46. King suggests that the unconventional elements of the design, with its semi-rotunda façades might have led to its omission.

In spite of the three schemes produced, there is no evidence that Adam carried out works for Hannay in Putney.
Adam would also design schemes for Hannay’s family estate at Kirkdale, Galloway. Once again the office produced three separate schemes, as at Putney, and it was the last and more modest of the designs which was finally executed.

See also: Kirkdale, Galloway

The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronical, 1790, Volume LX, part II, p. 1151; A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index, pp. 20, 26, 74; A. Rowan, Designs for Castles and Country Villas by Robert and James Adam, 1985, pp. 52, 58, 60; D. King, The complete works of Robert James Adam & unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 22, 80-1, 109, 117, 127, pl. 123-28; ‘Hannay, Sir Samuel, 3rd Bt. (1742-90)’, historyofparliamentonline.org (accessed October 2019)

Anna McAlaney, 2019



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Contents of Hill House, Putney Heath, three schemes for Sir Samuel Hannay, 3rd Bt., c1786-7, unexecuted (25)