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Colen Campbell, 1676–1729
Lowther House, Westmorland: Principal and First Floor Plans
Former Title(s):
Designs for a new house, proposed to be built in the second decade of the 18th century. Ground and first floor plan.
between 1718 and 1729
Materials & Techniques:
Graphite, pen and black ink, gray wash, within triple-ruled border on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 18 7/16 x 11 1/4 inches (46.8 x 28.6 cm)

Inscribed in pen and black ink, center: “32 square”, “30 | 21”, “30 | 21”, “19 | 21”, “32 | 24”

Watermark: IV

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 | designs | floor plans | house | Palladian
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

This is one of a set of four surviving drawings at the Yale Center for British Art showing Campbell’s proposal for rebuilding Lowther House for Henry Lowther, third Viscount Lonsdale (1694–1751) (see also B1977.14.1069–1072). The principal floor and first-floor plans in this drawing show a symmetrical design, the main rooms laid out on the center axis, with a clear vista through these spaces from one end of the house to the other. The thirty-two-foot square room overlooking the garden rises through two stories and may have been intended as a cube, thus evoking other Palladian designs, such as Inigo Jones’s Queen’s House at Greenwich, or Campbell’s own Wanstead House (both featured in Vitruvius Britannicus, vol. I).

Colen Campbell was probably introduced to the third Viscount Londsdale by Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington (1694–1753), a leading figure of the Palladian movement and an important early patron of Campbell. Lord Burlington helped launch the architect's career with introductions to influential and wealthy patrons in London and the north. Campbell made an early attempt to gain Lonsdale's patronage in 1717, when he dedicated to him a design for minor alterations to Lowther House in volume II of Vitruvius Britannicus. The architect’s later design, as shown in the Center’s drawings, was for a more drastic reconstruction, suggesting that it was submitted after the house’s destructive fire. Despite the detailed proposals, Campbell’s designs for Lowther House were never executed. Unfortunately for Campbell, Lonsdale’s finances suffered greatly from the South Sea Bubble crisis in 1720. He sold off more than £26,000 in estates, and he never salvaged the fire-damaged house. In 1806, Lowther House was rebuilt as a castellated mansion designed by Robert Smirke.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2014

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