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Sir John Vanbrugh, 1664–1726
Kings Weston, Bristol: Basement Plan
Former Title(s):
Kings Weston - Basement Plan
ca. 1710
Materials & Techniques:
Pen and brown ink with graphite on medium, slightly textured, beige wove paper
Sheet: 14 5/8 x 18 9/16 inches (37.1 x 47.1 cm)

Inscribed in pen and brown ink, upper center: "28.6"; in pen and brown ink, lower right: "3.6 | door"; inscribed on verso in pen and brown ink, center left:"13" and "8"; and dimensions given in pen and brown ink

Watermark: IV and fleur-de-lis within crowned cartouche and W below

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawing & Watercolors-Architectural
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | Baroque | basement | country house | floor plans | Palladian
Associated Places:
Associated People:
Vanbrugh, Sir John (1664–1726), playwright and architect
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

This is part of a set of John Vanbrugh drawings for Kings Weston at the Yale Center for British Art (B1977.14.1235–39). Kings Weston was one of Vanbrugh’s smaller commissions but also one of his finest. The house was built at the peak of the architect’s career, as he was completing Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard. Edward Southwell, a moderate Tory and chief secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, commissioned the design in 1710 to replace the existing sixteenth-century house. Built on a hillside overlooking the Bristol Channel, Kings Weston has a compact plan and a roofline characteristic of Vanbrugh’s style. The exterior has a monumental simplicity, with a restrained decorative scheme that is punctuated by a bold portico of Corinthian pilasters and a whimsical arcaded chimney stack. Inside, the house circulates around the central stairwell. Plans and an elevation of the building were published in Colen Campbell’s first volume of Vitruvius Britannicus (1715). The house was altered by Robert Mylne from 1763.

The building sits on a slight slope so that the basement is more exposed to the west, and this plan shows the groin-vaulted basement, accessed by two secondary staircases. Alterations in pencil show partitions added to rooms in the southeast and northwest corners. Curiously, the verso of the sheet has rough floor plans for a small villa with four rooms on the ground floor and two overhead, the front and rear having projecting center bays. The building is unidentified. Another rough plan on the verso shows a canted wall surrounding a window or door, with a bead molding at the corners.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2014

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