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Hendon Hall, Ashley Lane, Hendon, Barnet, (formerly) Middlesex: unexecuted design for a bridge for David Garrick, c1774-77 (1)

Signed and dated

  • c1772-77
    datable to c1772-77


David Garrick (1717-79) was an actor and playwright. He was the third of seven children of Peter Garrick an army officer, and himself the son of a French Huguenot émigré merchant. From 1737 Garrick and his brother Peter established themselves as wine merchants, with an office and cellars in Durham Yard off the Strand. It was through this profession that Garrick became acquainted with various theatre managers, began to write plays, and then to act professionally in 1741. His innovative naturalistic acting style made him popular, and brought him considerable wealth. In 1747 he was able to spend £8,000 on a 50% share of the patent to manage the Drury Lane Theatre. In 1749 he married a Viennese dancer, Eva Maria Veigel (1724-1822), and five years later in 1754 they purchased Hampton House, Hampton-on Thames. Three years after that, in 1757, Garrick bought Hendon Hall, Barnet, as an investment. Garrick retired from acting in 1776, and the management of the Drury Lane Theatre then passed to his friend, the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan (1751-1816). Garrick died from kidney stones at his home at the Adelphi in 1779. He was buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Hendon Hall was a Palladian villa built in the mid-eighteenth century to designs by an unknown architect. During the mid-nineteenth century it was the country residence of the architect Samuel Ware (1781-1860), who largely rebuilt the house. A north wing was added in the last decades of the nineteenth century, and major remodelling was undertaken in the twentieth century, as since 1912 Hendon Hall has served as a hotel. Garrick was never resident at Hendon. He had purchased the property purely as an investment. David Garrick commissioned Robert Adam to undertake work on Hampton House in 1774-77, and it was presumably at around the same time that a design was made for a new picturesque bridge at Hendon. This work was not executed.

There is another drawing for this bridge within the drawings collection at the V&A Museum, London. This was misinscribed by William Adam as being a bridge to cross the River Esk at Dalkeith, Midlothian, but was properly attributed by A.T. Bolton as being a duplicate of the design for Hendon.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 16, 72; Survey of London, Volume XXXV, 1970, pp. 9-70; A. Rowan, Catalogue of architectural drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum: Robert Adam, 1988, pp. 60-61; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy: 1701-1800, 1997, p. 391; B. Cherry, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 4: north, 1998, pp. 164-5; H.R. Smith, The story of Garrick and his life at Hampton, 1998, pp. 1-13; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, p. 219; ‘Garrick, David (1717-1779)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography online

Frances Sands, 2014



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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Contents of Hendon Hall, Ashley Lane, Hendon, Barnet, (formerly) Middlesex: unexecuted design for a bridge for David Garrick, c1774-77 (1)