Stair Parts. Fig. 191 Kedleston Derbyshire 1761 Plan of the Principal Floor
Lady Leicester carried on the works at Holkham with the help of Matthew Brettingham, of Norwich, who had been a pupil of Kent's and had acted as his assistant and clerk of the works. After the work was ended he published the plans and elevations of the house in a book dedicated to Lady Leicester, and claimed the whole credit of the design. But it belongs in reality to Kent, and Holkham is an interesting example of the work of one man, alike as to the house, its decoration and its furniture.
Although Holkham is his most notable achievement-unless we except the Horse Guards, which has some resemblance to it in general treatment (Fig. 190) Kent was fully employed during his thirty years of active work. He designed many houses and many gardens. One of the most pleasing of the buildings at Stowe, the Temple of Ancient Virtues, was his. His help was obtained in directions other than architecture, and Walpole tells us that he designed birthday gowns for two ladies, to which he gave a decidedly architectural turn. He must have spent much time in producing "The Designs of Inigo Jones," and it is not improbable that he was the power behind the throne in respect of the architectural efforts of Lord Burlington.
Stair Parts. Fig. 192.The Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. The Hall
Brettingham had a certain connection with Kedleston, as he seems to have designed and built one of the wings with its staircase and carved stair parts . He was succeeded by James Paine, to whom the general design is attributed, which followed the lines started by Brettingham. The house was to have had four outlying wings, much after the fashion of Holkham, but only two were carried out. The original plan looks very striking on paper (Stair Parts Fig. 191), but it is one further proof of the way in which comfort was sacrificed to grandeur by the architects of that time. All the principal rooms are noble, those, that is, which were to be used on grand occasions ; the others are quite subordinate. The basement, which contains rooms in daily use, seems overweighted by the superstructure, and is in fact too low to allow the light to penetrate freely to the remoter parts of the entrance. The bedrooms were, in the opinion of Dr Johnson, who visited the house with Boswell in September 1777, "but indifferent rooms." The hall is a lordly apartment with a row of lofty columns down each side (Stair Parts Fig. 192). Some of the columns are monoliths, and one is of alabaster from the locality. Dr Johnson thought the house " would do excellently for a townhall ; the large room with the pillars would do for the judges to sit in at the assizes ; the circular room for a jury-chamber ; and the room above for prisoners." It is quite true that many of these large houses produce an impression similar to that created by public buildings.
The situation of the house is in keeping with the ideas prevalent at the time. It is not, as of old, the centre of a formally disposed lay out, with vistas stretching away from its principal windows. It stands, indeed, askew with all points of view, on a slope of the park, backed by a long range of trees which crowns the summit of the hill ; behind another group of trees lie the stables, connected to the house by a sunk way. A contemporary bridge in the park, over which the approach is carried, lies in haphazard relation to the house. But this was all part of the design of stair parts, which aimed not at any formal lay out, but at a result which should convey the impression that everything was unstudied, and that skill was bestowed not in making an effect, but merely in seizing on the effects supplied by nature and using them to the best advantage. Paine did not finish the house. Before it was completed he was replaced by the brothers Adam, who carsried out all the decoration of the interior and also designed much of the furniture.
Stair Parts. Fig. 193. Elevation of Sir Watkin Wynn's House in St James Square London
Stair Parts. Fig. 194.House at Portland Place London
Of the brothers Adam (there were four of them), Robert was the most gifted, and it is his work which gave rise to the well-known " Adam " style in stair parts. He, too, had a training of several years in Italy (from 1754 to 1758), but, more adventurous than other students, he paid a visit of some weeks' duration to Spalato in Dalmatia, where he occupied himself, with the help of companions, in taking measurements and making drawings of Diocletian's palace. According to one authority' these studies were the foundation of his future style. Much of the furniture at Kedleston, however, is more nearly allied to the type