A Select Catalogue of Drawings at West Wycombe Park
Essay by Clare Hornsby
This catalogue – comprising a selection of 66 drawings and 3 prints – is necessarily partial since it has been created to conform to the context of the case study, which concentrates on collecting and display at West Wycombe Park. The aspect of the collection as shown here highlights the changes in design of the house elevations (figs. 1–4). Most of the drawings are facade designs for the north and south fronts; in some cases there are copy drawings of these designs which are not catalogued separately. The catalogue does not deal with drawings for outlying buildings, the park and other estate structures or for the nearby mausoleum and the church.1
Included in this catalogue is a group of about forty drawings made for the house refurbishment itself, some others related to the interior decoration, unexecuted projects for the house and elsewhere – including drawings for the Dashwood house in Hanover Square in London – and a few historically significant commissions such as the plan for the Academy building for the Society of Dilettanti. There is a significant group of French drawings for a Palladian-style villa. In addition, some prints that reveal the architectural taste of the patron are included. Thus the breadth of the collection is reflected in the catalogue, giving insight into Sir Francis Dashwood’s taste and aesthetic and scholarly concerns at the time of the rebuilding.
Cross-referencing from my ‘The House and the Drawings Collection at West Wycombe Park: Dashwood’s Educated Taste’ (Hornsby, ‘House and Drawings’) to this catalogue has been made; it is there that the wider discussion of the drawings is developed.
The Location and Display
The drawings are to be found in various locations around the house, either stored in cabinets in the Billiard Room on the first floor or framed and hung in either the bedroom corridor on the same floor or the Study on the ground floor. Here is where many of the north front elevations are to be found. In the catalogue she compiled for her masters thesis, Anne Purchas gives a total of 194 drawings kept in the house; of those approximately 60 are framed.2 This framing was undertaken by the current owner’s father, Sir Francis Dashwood, 11th Baronet (1925–2000; fig. 5), who selected a large number and commissioned mounts and frames for them from Colefax and Fowler in the 1960s and 70s.3
Abbreviations used in the catalogue
AP: Anne Purchas, ‘A Building History of West Wycombe Park with a Catalogue of Architectural Drawings’, masters thesis, London: Courtauld Institute of Art, 1992
Witt: Witt Library negative number (if present) on the reverse of photographs now in the Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art, London.4
Dashwood list: typed list in the estate office, undated but probably made since 2005, that gives an incomplete and summary catalogue of the drawings and location within the house.
Each entry follows a similar pattern:
Number and title; image; attribution or suggested attribution; date; medium and size in millimetres; inscriptions if any; location in the house; AP catalogue number; Witt Library negative number (if present); notes or comments. Measurements are those given by AP except where noted.
The works have no titles; there are in some cases inscriptions that indicate what the drawing shows. Since many of these are repetitious and confusing, new descriptive titles have been given to the drawings included here.
All the additional drawings are included in Anne Purchas, ‘A Building History of West Wycombe Park with a Catalogue of Architectural Drawings’, masters thesis, London: Courtauld Institute of Art, 1992.1
Sir Edward Dashwood, personal communication with the author, 2017.3
The drawings in the house are to be found in various places in the Conway collection: many are filed under Donowell, some under 18th c. misc West Wycombe, others under Jolivet, Revett, etc. Some drawings have not been photographed by the Courtauld Institute.4
- by Clare Hornsby
- 20 November 2020
- House Essay
- CC BY-NC International 4.0
- Cite as
- Clare Hornsby, "A Select Catalogue of Drawings at West Wycombe Park", Art and the Country House, https://doi.org/10.17658/ACH/WWE521