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Sir John Vanbrugh, 1664–1726, British

Kings Weston, Bristol: Entrance Front Elevation

Former Title(s):

King's Weston House, Gloucestershire, Entrance Elevation

ca. 1710
Pen and brown ink with gray wash over graphite on thin, slightly textured, cream laid paper to a scale of 1/8 inch to 1 foot
Sheet: 14 1/2 × 18 5/8 inches (36.8 × 47.3 cm)

Inscribed on verso in graphite, upper left: "Kings Weston | Cf [Vils.] [Bit] I, 46"

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 | country house | Palladian
Associated Places:
Bristol | England | Gloucestershire | United Kingdom
Associated People:
Vanbrugh, Sir John (1664–1726), playwright and architect
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
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This is part of a set of John Vanbrugh drawings for Kings Weston drawings 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. This elevation shows the entrance front on the building’s south side. The drawing appears to have been altered in Vanbrugh’s own hand to include two large decorative urns on the roofline and wisps of smoke emitting from the chimney stack. The entrance front is shown as it was built, with the bold Corinthian portico and the prominent roofline. The arcaded chimney stack, unique to Vanbrugh, is silhouetted against the sky and is a recurring element in Vanbrugh’s designs, as in Eastbury Park, Dorset.

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