James Athenian Stuart
The Doric Temple at Hagley Hall is generally said to be earliest surviving building of the Greek Revival. It is the earliest to be in a simple baseless Doric order, the simplest possible form, ideal as a place to sit and gaze at the besuty of the landscape, rather than any grandiose statement. It was built by James Stuart for George, Lord Lyttelton in 1758/9. Shugborough has an almost exact copy built in 1760. It would appear that Hagley pipped Shugborough at the post, but as the mists of time fade it is becoming clearer that Stuart owed his career to Thomas Anson more than anyone at that Shugborough has a claim to be the true the birthplace of the Greek Revival in terms of ideas and architecture.
The architect, designer and painter James Stuart was the most important artistic influence on the Greek Revival and Thomas Anson’s support was an important factor in his career. Many of Stuart’s patrons had connections with the social circle of the Ansons, Lord Lyttelton and Mrs Montagu. Architectural historian Kerry Bristol has argued that Thomas was the key influence. (1)
James Stuart, later known as “Athenian Stuart”, and Nicholas Revett announced their plans to travel to Greece and measure and draw Greek architecture in 1748. They travelled to Greece in 1751, via Venice, where Sir James Gray, the British Resident, nominated them for membership of the Society of Dilettanti.
The first volume of the Antiquities of Athens (not published in 1762, and subscribed to by both Thomas and George Anson) illustrated mainly smaller late classical buildings which, by chance or design, were suitable for copying as garden monuments or to supply features for other architectural projects. This proved to be a wise move and even before the book was published the drawings were being copied for architectural and interior design projects. Though the buildings covered in the first volume were mostly of a later period than the great days of Athens they were satisfied a fashionable desire for the Grecian taste.
Thomas Anson may have had a stronger desire for the Greek than most if his 1734 Mediterranean journey was a quest for the roots of Greek culture. His garden already had pseudo-Greek ruins on the far side of the river, beyond the gothic ruins part of which survives as the seat of a Druid. Stuart’s adventure would bring back knowledge of authentic Greek features, reflecting the Greek ideals of simplicity and truth. The ideal of simplicity would be the inspiration of Stuart’s earliest buildings, his Doric Porticos, which are not based on any authentic originals but use the simplest order of baseless Doric columns.
The Temple at Hagley may not have been first Doric Portico that Stuart built, but it is the earliest surviving and has an iconic status.
The first mention of this temple, as a scheme, is in a letter from Lord Lyttelton to Mrs Montagu, the leading hostess of intellectual and artistic London society, in October 1758.
“Mr Anson and Mr Steward who were with me last week are true lovers of Hagley, but their Delight in it was disturbed by a blustering Wind, which gave them colds and a little chilld their Imagination itself. Yet Steward seems almost as fond of my Vale, as of the Thessala Tempe, which I believe you heard him describe when I brought him to see you. Nor could the East Wind deter him from mounting the Hills. He is going to embellish one of the Hills with a true Attick building, a portico of six pillars, which will make a fine effect to my new house, and command a most beautiful view of the country.” (2)
J Mordaunt Crook in his classic ‘The Greek Revival’ says ‘the date is sacrosanct’ – as the starting point of the movement. (3). This is open to question, but his statement shows how important he felt the event to be in cultural terms.
Lyttelton’s letter is a very important document for several reasons.
Firstly, it proves that Stuart and Anson already knew each other in October 1758. It has usually been assumed that the Hagley temple was the first building of the Greek revival and that Shugborough followed with an almost exact copy a year or so later, possibly in 1760. This in turn has led some writers to assume that all Stuart’s work at Shugborough must come from after this date, including his part of the Shepherd’s Monument. The Hagley portico was actually constructed by Sanderson Miller. Miller was an architect himself but he also took responsibility for converting other artists’ drawings into practical buildings. He had advised at Shugborough in the 1750s perhaps seeing to the realisation of designs by Wright, including the Pagoda.
Secondly, the letter clearly places the idea of the portico in a landscape. Lyttelton may have seen his own Hagley valley as an imitation of the “Thessala Tempe” but he was an early enthusiast for the picturesque landscape. The Greek style is intimately connected with the beginnings of the romantic love of nature, whether Mediterranean or an English Arcadia. This is an immensely important point. The Greek Revival, as far as this study is concerned, is a movement of ideas and not just art and architecture. It is a matter of an attitude to the world and to the value of meaning in art and nature. The accuracy of a Doric Temple may be a tribute to the Greeks but it was also a place to sit and contemplate nature and the truths beyond the surface of the material world – to “contemplate the Forms”, or divine Ideas, as James Harris wrote in his “Three Treatises” of 1744. Harris was a friend and literary colleague of Lyttelton and Lyttelton was certainly aware of these Platonic philosophical concepts. In the 1750s the fashion for landscapes turned to the natural and romantic – and Thomas Anson had visited various places which followed the new style including Thomas Wright’s Stoke Park.
Lyttelton’s letter reveals that Stuart was already known to Mrs Montagu in 1758. She was to become one his most important patrons. Lyttelton may have introduced Stuart to Mrs Montagu, but at what point did Thomas Anson come into the picture? Though this is the earliest documentary proof of Stuart and Anson together the evidence, as it comes together, begins to suggest that the partnership of Anson and Stuart predated it by several years.
The Hagley temple was not Stuart’s first architectural project. Interestingly the two earliest commissions for which there is documentary evidence were for the only two of Thomas Anson’s contemporaries in the early days of the Dilettante Society with whom he definitely had a continuing friendship with. Thomas Villiers, Lord Hyde and later Earl of Clarendon(1709-1786) is mentioned in a letter from Lady Anson to Thomas in December 1749 when she mentions that she expected him to be at Shugborough when the letter was received. Simon, 1st Earl Harcourt., (1714-1777) was one of the recipients of a mourning ring at Thomas Anson’s death.
Stuart built a Doric Portico for Lord Hyde at The Grove.The Portico has vanished and it may not have been a prototype of the two almost identical Doric Porticos at Hagley and Shugborough. There is a reference to “Mr Stewart’s six column Grecian Doric Portico” at The Grove in Sanderson Miller’s diary for September 21st 1756. (4) This date is precisely the day after the first written evidence of the Shepherd’s Monument. If Stuart’s contribution to the monument had been constructed by September 1751 it is possible that the Shepherd’s Monument could predate the temple at The Grove.
Villiers continued to be involved in Stuart’s work well into the 1760s when he writes to Lady Spencer about Stuart’s slow and expensive progress at her house. In November 1764 Stuart was trying to build support for his (successful) application to succeed William Hogarth as Serjeant Painter at the Office of Works. He wrote to Thomas Anson that Lord Hyde had said that “nothing can contribute so much to it as a recommendation from Mr Anson.”
This suggests that Hyde had a high opinion of Anson and of his influence.
In December 1756 Lord Harcourt wrote that he had “boldly adventured to follow a design of an old building which I have seen amongst Mr Stuart’s drawings of Athens.” Lady Harcourt had been looking at Stuart’s drawings as early as February 1756, only four months after Stuart’s return from Greece, but it is possible that Stuart had begun work at Shugborough several months before this date.
If Stuart was already working for the two Dilettante members most closely connected for Thomas Anson as early as this it is perfectly possible that the Shepherds Monument, and its Scheemakers relief, could date from as early as 1756 and that earlier estimates of the dates of Stuart’s work were misguided. Articles in the fabulously illustrated in “James Athenian Stuart – The rediscovery of antiquity” (ed. Soros) by Kerry Bristol and others now suggest that Stuart’s work for Anson started in 1756. If this is true the Shepherd’s Monument could be Stuart’s earliest architectural project, even though it may have been shared in a mysterious way with Thomas Wright. The article on by Julius Bryant on Stuart’s villas and country houses accepts that Anson was Stuart’s most important patron, that Stuart may first have been able to work with experienced builders and craftsmen (including, perhaps, Sanderson Miller) at Shugborough, and that the expansion of Stuart’s clientele began with Anson’s neighbours, including Lord Lyttelton. It is a reasonable possibility that Anson introduced Stuart to his Dilettante Society friends Villiers and Harcourt.
If so Anson must have been in a position to meet Stuart as soon as he came back to England in 1755. As with the case of Thomas Wright Anson seems to have had a key role in his life and yet neither left any clue about how it began. There is a mystery about Anson’s relationship with the Society of Dilettanti. Though he was one of the earliest members there is no evidence of his continuing involvement with the Society – and yet the two Dilettanti members who certainly did commission architecture from Stuart were the ones most closely connected with Anson.
Did Anson have an invisible role in the background of the Society’s support for Stuart, or did he somehow approach the artist when he arrived in London to live with the notorious jacobite Dawkins?
It should be mentioned, though, that even before this, Stuart approached Charles Watson-Wentworth, the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham. Stuart had noted his name in a list of subscribers to his Greek project, presumably with a hope that they would be interested in original work. One feature he designed for Rockingham’s vast house, Wentworth Woodhouse, was a series of stucco panels for the grand saloon which seem to be related to panels on the Cat’s Monument.
Another possible piece of evidence that Stuart was working at Shugborough earlier than previously thought possible is a reference in one Lady Anson’s letters to “the project of a greenhouse” on 17th July 1756 probably refers to the first thoughts for Stuart’s Orangery.
As this date has previously been thought far too early for Stuart’s involvement it has been suggested in the past that there had been an earlier Greenhouse that was replaced by Stuart’s elaborate building. This seems to be an unnecessarily complicated theory. Though the building may have not been built until much later (Philip Yorke saw the foundations under construction in 1763) it could well be that Stuart was discussing the “project of a greenhouse” in July 1756.
The Cat’s Monument, which may be based on a Thomas Wright design, had certainly not yet been built in 1749 when Lady Anson wrote of a possible source for stone for “Kouli Kan’s monument.” The final version has artificial stone plaques which are similar to some of Stuart’s very early designs for Wentworth Woodhouse. It is possible that the Cat’s Monument plaques (and possibly the complete structure) could well date from about the same time as the completed Shepherd’s Monument – and that this could well be as early as 1756.
There is a relationship between the two monuments. Now that vegetation has been cleared the Cat appears to look across the river towards the Shepherd’s Monument. The two could well have deliberately sited to give this effect.
The simplest explanation is usually true – according to the principle of Ockham’s Razor.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Stuart was, indeed, working at Shugborough by July 1756, and that the Shepherd’s Monument was completed then.
Whether the monument was based on an existing Wright structure or simply adapted a Wright design (similar to the arbour drawing in “Arbours and Grottoes published only the year before) may never be known but though the structure is peculiar it is not visibly made in two parts.
If it is right that the monument was completed in July 1756 (and it cannot have been more than two months later than this ) it has to be true that it was designed sometime before therefore Stuart’s working relationship with Anson must predate July 1756.
How much earlier than July 1756 would the Scheemakers relief have been commissioned? It would have to have been conceived at the same time as or before the final design for the monument. How quick a worker was the sculptor?
Stuart and Scheemakers became regular partners after 1759 the starting date of their monument to Admiral Howe in Westminster Abbey. Many of Stuart’s first monumental designs, including the Howe memorial and one for Lord Hardwicke, depend on the Anson connection. Ingrid Roscoe, who has studied his career in detail and written his entry in DNB, suggests 1756 as the date of the Poussin relief. She sees this as the start of the Scheemakers/Stuart partnership. This is true in a way – as it was the first project in which both were involved – but there is a strong possibility that the relief had been commissioned or already existed before Stuart came on the scene and that it was originally intended to be placed in a Wrightian alcove which may have already have been sketched.
Perhaps Stuart was called on to revise the design once the relief was ready for installation.
The details may never be known but the conclusion has to be that Stuart was first involved with Anson, his most important patron and the driving force in his career, some months before July 1756 and that the Shepherd’s Monument, as it stands now, was completed in that month. The mysterious structure brought together the three artists, Wright, Stuart and Scheemakers, the interest in Stoicism, Poussin, the mood of the early 1750s and whatever personal meanings were in Thomas Anson’s mind. At the same time Stuart and Anson were contemplating a Greenhouse, which became the Orangery, and, surely, the project to build the series of buildings based on “The Antiquities of Athens” was already forming in their minds.
If this is true the “sacrosanct” date and place in which the ideas of the Greek Revival came to life is not 1758 at Hagley but 1756 at Shugborough.
Stuart’s work at Shugborough covers a period of up to 17 years, between 1756 and Anson’s death in 1773. The series of garden monuments survive but there were also alterations to the in the house.
Philip Yorke wrote to his father Lord Hardwicke on August 22nd 1763:
“Appartments whc are fitted up and furnished with all the Elegance & ornaments wch the Arts of Italy & the Magnificence of China can afford…I do not admire Stewart’s Painintgs in the vestibule; they are hard and the colouring is (…) I have not hinted this to Mr Anson.” (5)
This may be a reference to a painted room which was demolished when the house was extended again at the end of the century. The existence of this painted room had been forgotten until a few years ago when pieces of brightly painted plaster were found under the floorboards. In Stuart’s time an upper floor was added to the Wright extensions, creating space for extra bedrooms and the painted room may have been in this new extension.
They are now on display as tantalising fragment. Yorke’s wording suggests there may have been paintings by Stuart as well as the decorations.
Lord Hardwicke was also unimpressed by Stuart’s talent as a painter. He wrote to Philip:
“the Owner of Shugborough will go on to comb, dress, & improve it, in the manner you represent. He has all the meabs of doing it in his hands. He had always Tast…In Designs for Sculpture, He is I believe in the right to make use of Stewart’s Scavoir-faire; but I wonder He suffers him to daub his House with his Pencil…He is certainly no Painter.” (6)
Stuart created a painted room with similar details at Spencer House. His Greek inspired style spread to every part of interior design, including furniture and decorations. There are two elegant pier tables, now in the Red Drawing Room, which are simple and elegant, and tripod stands designed for the library. These show the fine detail and high quality of his designs, though it seems his own painting was not on such a high level.
THE DORIC PORTICO
Though documentary evidence for James “Athenian” Stuart’s work for Shugborough survives, including a fascinating collection letters to Thomas Anson, there is still a haze of confusion about the Doric Portico.
It is virtually identical to Lord Lyttelton’s temple at Hagley, which was built by Sanderson Miller from Stuart’s design during 1759. The Hagley temple was built to command a view. In contrast the Shugborough version is on low ground and was originally the grand entrance to the walled garden. Old illustrations survive which show the door at the back. There is a mystery about the date of the walled garden. It may have predated the portico. It is possible that the Shepherds Monument originally stood against the wall – though parts of the foundation which became exposed when a tree fell in the 1990s suggest the wall was a short distance away from the monument.
There is a typically puzzling reference in Lady Anson’s last letter to Thomas at Shugborough. She died on 1st June 1760 from an “epidemic sore throat and fever.”
On 24th May 1760 she wrote to Thomas:
“Mr. Stewart desires to be informed of the number & size of your Dorick columns; having made the Drawing of your Portico, which he wants to make the Scale to before he sends it.” (7)
It is quite difficult to work out what Lady Anson actually means here. “The number & size of your Dorick columns” suggests that Stuart is asking for dimensions of some columns that already exist. Could this be true? Did the portico already exist or did Thomas have some spare columns lying about? Does he mean to ask what size Thomas wants the columns to be? And yet Stuart has already made a “Drawing of your Portico.”
Could it be that the Portico had already been built, presumably by Sanderson Miller (perhaps an unsung third man in the architectural history of Shugborough) and Stuart’s sketch had not given dimensions? A lot must have been left to Miller if so, but this might have been the usual procedure. Wright did not make architectural plans for his designs, he simply drew sketches.
But surely Stuart would not need to question the number of columns?
There seems to be no simple solution. The fact is that the Portico is a copy of the Hagley one, so it is hard to see why Stuart needed to know any details.
THE ARCH OF HADRIAN 1761 onwards
The story of the Shugborough monuments finally becomes very much clearer with the Arch of Hadrian.
It was the first building to be based on the drawings Stuart and Revett made in Greece (not published until 1762). An estimate for the construction of this, from builder John Hooper, is dated November 1761. It cost £282 /14s/1d (2)
The arch became a memorial for Lady Anson. Horace Walpole wrote to the Earl of Strafford on June 7th 1760:
“I dare say you are sorry for poor Lady Anson. She was exceedingly good-humoured, and did a thousand good-natured and generous actions. ”(8)
There is, of course, no written record of what her death meant to Thomas. The relationship may not have been romantic but she had been a regular visitor at Shugborough, a travelling companion to Bath and beyond, and was an enormous influence on the style of the house. To a certain extent the place was designed to suit her taste, particularly the Arcadian elements.
Catherine Talbot wrote to Elizabeth Carter on June 24th 1760:
“I had to-day a very painful, though a very gratifying message from Lord Anson with a mourning ring.” (9)
Her brother Joseph was still affected three years later when Elizabeth Carter met him in Holland:
Elizabeth Carter to Catherine Talbot in Holland 1763
“Well, we did dine with Sir J. Yorke yesterday, who has a very fine house, and appears as an ambassador extraordinary should do. You will love and honour him more than ever, for talking of nothing so much as of Lady Anson, whose death he declared to be the greatest loss he ever had, or ever could have : he talked of her likewise the night before, and every occasion seems to bring her to his thoughts.” (10)
The Marchioness Grey saw the Arch in August 1763:
“We have been this Morning through a very Stormy Wind on one of the Neighbouring Hills that commands a very fine prospect, & on which is erected a triumphal Arch out of Mr Stuart’s Athenian designs & under his Direction. A most beautiful Structure that has been long begun, but will now I understand (by a Drawing Shewn but not mention’d) be applied to a different purpose from what could be first intended.”(11)
Scheemakers, who may or may not have collaborated with Stuart on the Shepherds Monument, carved the “trophies” as memorials to Lord and Lady Anson.
In August 1764 Stuart wrote to Anson:
“Scheemakers is very happy that you approve his Trophies. He says he cannot take less than 800l & wishes to have the (as he hinted to me) to have the payment completed as he is about purchasing the house he lives in…” (12)
The medallions on the lower stage were added in 1769, as Stuart writes to Anson 7th June 1769:
“Mr Scheemakers has modelled one of the medallions for the Arch & I am much pleased with it, Neptune & Minerva are establishing naval discipline – he is pleased with it himself.” (13)
THE GREEN HOUSE 1763/4
Though Lady Anson implied that a Greenhouse had been contemplated in 1756, the elaborate Orangery or Green House, sadly now lost, may only have been begun in 1763. It stood on the site of the present Rose Garden. Philip Yorke’s letter to his father, Lord Hardwicke, in August 1763 suggests the foundations were newly laid at the time of his visit. Philip had arrived at Shugborough with Thomas from a visit to Hagley:
“The place has received many embellishments since I saw it in 1748 & the owner is still improving it both within doors and without – I cannot help comparing it with the Virgin’s Chappel at Loretto – wch remains in its original State an ordinary Brick Edifice, whilst the superstition of its Votaries has surrounded it with one of the finest & most costly churches wch the Romish religion has to boast of – Thus Mr Anson has left his small Family Hall, little drawing room & narrow passage, but added to them on each wing Apartments wch are fitted up and furnished with all the Elegance & Ornaments wch the Arts of Italy & the Magnificence of China can afford. He still meditates further Additions to the House, in order to gain more room for guests and is enlarging the Offices. In his Garden he is laying the foundation of a handsome Green House, designed by Stewart, and in his Grounds he is erecting an Arch of Portland Stone…..”(14)
The letter goes on to describe the Poussin relief of the Shepherds Monument, which Yorke does not seem to have seen before.
The Green House was a showplace for sculpture as much as for plants, as the 1767 anonymous poem describes:
“….the ravish’d eye
Surveys he miracles of Grecian art
In living sculptures, godlike shapes & forms
Excelling human!” (15)
The work displayed included modern statues, presumably based on classical originals, of Hymen and Narcissus, Flora, and a particularly striking Adonis.
In 1770 a mural of by Nicholas Dall, who painted several views of the house and landscapes in the 1760s and 1770s, was installed in the Orangery.
Stuart wrote to Thomas (25th September 1770):
“The subject for the Green house is a view of the temple of Minerva Polias with the Caryatides, on the principal ground, & in the distance he has introduced what remains of the Odeum of Pericles, both of them Subjects engraved for my second volume….The water fall, with the scenery accompanying it, he has contrived with great ingenuity. I think it will have a wonderful effect, it must astonish & delight every spectator.” (16)
THE TOWER OF THE WINDS
The Tower of the Winds was begun in 1764, based on the Horologium of Andronikos Cyrrhestes, in the old agora in Athens. The original building had relief carvings of the winds on its eight sides.
Joseph Banks, later President of the Royal Society, but then a young botanist, visited Shugborough in 1767 was unimpressed.
“But the Temple of the Winds is what he seems to have least of all succeeded in here he has left the ancient design making two Porch entreys instead of one and leaving out that most elegant freeze said to be the work of Phideas, to which the Building certainly owes the most of its beauty in the original as this plainly shews for want of it appears scarce more Beautiful than a common Octagon Pidgeon house .” (17)
Watercolours of the Tower at Shugborough do show the reliefs of the winds, and the anonymous poem of July 7th 1767 describes the reliefs in detail:
“Mark, on the gorgeous frize, in high relief
Embossed, the powers of air…” (18)
It is most likely that the reliefs were painted trompe l’oeil panels and they had not been fixed when Banks visited.
The Tower of the Winds was converted into a dairy at the end of the century.
The basic design of the tower from Stuart and Revett’s illustrations was frequently repeated in variations, including one by Nicolas Revett at West Wycombe for Sir Francis Dashwood.
THE LANTHORN OF DEMOSTHENES
The Lanthorn of Demosthenes was planned in 1764. It is interesting to discover that Thomas Anson was responsible for the positioning of the monuments. In June 1764 Stuart wrote:
“I cannot figure to myself where the lanthorn of Demosthenes can be placed to more advantage than on the spot you showed me near to the Ladies seat. I long to know the spot…
“Pray is the place for the lanthorn of Demosthenes any where by the Canal & near the fine Clump of Trees Just at the Angle, pardon my inquisitiveness. I cant help thinking about it.”(19)
By Canal, Stuart must mean one of the artificial waterways, now lost, which included Wright’s cascades and colonnaded bridge. Other Wright landscapes, in Ireland, as well as Wrest, include “canals”. The Trent and Mersey canal was not built until 1770, but the Lanthorn was already standing (without its tripod and bowl) in 1767 when it is mentioned in the anonymous poem. It is possible that the Lanthorn was intended to be seen from the river, while sailing or rowing in an ornamental barge.
Doctor Johnson visited Shugborough and wrote a Latin epitaph on the Tower of Winds. Curiously Boswell’s Life of Johnson suggests this was a visit to “Lord Anson’s seat” and that within half an hour of visiting Johnson was making critical remarks of their host. Johnson was a political enemy of the Ansons. As Lord Anson died in 1764 it is possible that this story is garbled. Boswell describes the Corsican Goats in his book about Corsica and met Thomas Anson in 1772 at Mrs Montagu’s, but was he at Shugborough with Johnson in 1764?
By the end of Thomas Anson’s life Shugborough was fascinatingly varied landscape, of follies, waterways, statues and wildernesses. Even the expanses of grass were, as Sir John Parnell wrote in 1769, ‘fertile to a great degree and bespangled with the finest flowers which grow naturally in fine meadows.’ (20)
15 ST JAMES SQUARE
After Lord Anson’s death in 1762 Thomas inherited Moor Park, which he sold for £25,000 and Admiral Anson’s London house, 15 St James Square.
This provided the opportunity for Anson’s largest commission from Stuart. Previously Thomas had lived in Spring Gardens, by St James’s Park as his London home, and he must have remained there during the several years it took for build his spectacular new house. The Admiral’s old house was demolished in 1763, but construction of the new house took three years. It was the first stone fronted house in St James Square and the first house in London to use elements from Stuart’s Antiquities of Athens, both externally and internally.
In June 1764 the first floor was reached.
“The grand function of wetting the first floor was performed last Saturday when upward of 50 men had their bellies full of Beef pudding and Ale and your health was drank with very cheerfull huzzas, the Masters treated themselves and I had the honor of being president”(21)
Scheemakers worked extensively on details for 15 St James Square at the same time as his work at Shugborough, including volutes for capitals based on the Temple of Minerva Polias which also featured on the paintings by Dall in the Green House.
In September 1766 Stuart wrote to Anson, about the servants: “the insolence of your people is insurportable.”(22)
The house was completed in 1766, by which time Thomas Anson was the ratepayer. Stuart was very proud of the building writing that it was “a topic of much conversation among the Connoisseurs in Architecture.”(23)
Much of the decoration of this important house survives, in spite of extensions and alterations in the 1790s. Such a showcase of a house was designed to be experienced by visitors and the building came alive in the late 1760s with a series of breakfast concerts in which the latest music and finest musicians were added to the latest taste in design.
Kerry Bristol writing in Apollo (2000), argues that many of Stuart’s commissions in other places owed their origins to introductions by Thomas Anson of which Hagley Park was the first. A major commission for painted interiors came from Philip Yorke, by then 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, in 1766, which is curious considering his comments about Stuart’s painting in 1763. Other commissions came from Sir William Bagot, Thomas Anson’s friend and neighbour, for a Green house at Blithfield Hall. Stuart also became Surveyor to the Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, thanks officially to Lord Anson, but no doubt originally due to Thomas’s influence.
1) Kerry Bristol: The Society of Dilettanti, James “Athenian” Stuart and the Anson family (Apollo. vol. 152 9461) pp 46-54, 2000)
2) Susan Weber Soros (editor): James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. The Rediscovery of Antiquity. (BGC Yale, 2007 p323)
3) J Mordaunt Crook: The Greek Revival (John Murray, 1995)
4) Soros op. cit, p326
5) Soros op. cit. p272
6) Soros op. cit. p273
7) David Watkin: Athenian Stuart (George Allen & Unwin, 1982. Note 17 p58)
8) The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford (Bentley, 1857) Available on Google Books
9) A Series of Letters Between Mrs. Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot (1809) Available on Google Books
11) Soros op. cit. p331
12) Staffordshire Records Office. Anson Papers
13) Staffordshire Records Office. Anson Papers
14) British Library. Philip Yorke’s Journal. 1763
15) 1767 anonymous poem in Staffordshire Records Office
16) Stuart to Anson 25th Sept 1770. Staffordshire Records Office. Anson Papers
17) Extracts from Joseph Banks Journal in National Library of Wales
18) 1767 poem. Staffordshire Records Office. Anson Papers
19) Staffordshire Records Office. Anson Papers
20) Transcript of extracts from John Parnell’s journal in the William Salt Library, Stafford
21) Staffordshire Records Office. Anson Papers. Quoted in: