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Preliminary design and designs for a villa, 1773, as executed (6)


Adam volume 10/183 is a rough preliminary design for the plan of St Edmund's Hill in Robert Adam's own hand. Rowan suggests that 'the sums written by Adam on either side of the plans represent the total dimensions of the rooms with the wall thickness to provide the overall width and depth of the house. From these sums the square footage of the plan will have been calculated to provide the client with a probable cost.' By these means Adam would have been able to provide Professor Symonds with a quote for the construction work per square foot.

These drawings have previously been incorrectly catalogued as Bolton was taken in by William Adam's erroneous title inscriptions on Adam volumes 44/72, 44/74, 44/70, 44/71, attributing the designs to the patronage of Mr Stevenson. During the 1780s and 1790s Mr Stevenson did commission designs for a large castellated house from Adam, but this villa was certainly intended for Professor John Symonds. We know this as Symonds's villa was executed in Bury St Edmunds in accordance with these designs, and because Adam volume 44/73 includes Mr Symonds Study.

In addition to this William Adam's title inscriptions denote the incorrect storey for each of the plans. Adam volume 44/72 is clearly a subterranean basement as opposed to a Ground Story; Adam volume 44/73, which is labelled as the Parler Storey, is the ground storey, as we can see from the inclusion of the loggia on the north front and external stairs; and Adam volume 44/74, which is labelled as the principal story, may indeed have been intended as the principal storey of the house, as it contains both a bed chamber and a drawing room, but it must be noted that this plan is for the first floor of the villa. Moreover, William incorrectly labelled the two elevations: Adam volume 44/70 is for the garden (south) front, and not the principal front as his inscription of Elevation of a house would imply; and Adam volume 44/71 is for the side (east or west) front of the house, and not for the Back front as William tells us. There is no plan for the second (attic) storey, or an elevation for the principal (north) front.



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Contents of Preliminary design and designs for a villa, 1773, as executed (6)