Robert Adam's Letter to John Fordyce






 Robert Adam to John Fordyce, Esq. 


                                                                                                            London, 21 May 1763

Dear Sir, 

I have at last finished, and sent you, by Capt. Thomas Pringle, the designs of the Riding House.  I proposed to have shewed them to Sir Sydney Meadows and Mr Berenger; but in order not to delay longer, and tire out your patience and long suffering, I have laid hold of the first opportunity since they were finished, and, as I keep copys, I shall show them to these gentlemen, and if they make any remarks, pro or con, shall most faithfully transmitt them to you.  I have avoided all extra ornament, and used no more than what was necessary to make the facade decent and genteel.  Mr Mure approves much of it, only says it is too little ornamented.  He particularly likes my having put the exercising pillar in the lobby, which all the Commissioners recommended.  The niches within may be formed in the rough walling, and afterwards plaistered; but many of the riding houses here having nothing but rough walling within; though I am persuaded the additional look would overbalance the expense of plaistering.  I have put windows over the niches; but after the building is up, you may then judge if there won’t be sufficient light, if every other window was blocked and made a pannel, both without and within, especially as I have made 3 large windows at that end which fronts the entrance.  Mr. Mure and I have had many conversations on the extension of our scheme, and forming a complete academy for fencing, dancing, &c, and having houses for the different masters, all formed on a regular plan: making this Riding House the centre building. 

If you have considered and approve such a plan, I would endeavour to make out the whole for you: but I ought to have an exact plan of your ground, so as to extend or contract my building to answer the shape of your ground.  I don’t think it necessary for me to explain any thing more of the plans sent, as they are all figured.  The rooms I call for the Gentlemen, at each end of the lobby, are proper for dressing and undressing in.  The closets in these rooms will hold boots, whips, &c., and as there is a communication twixt them and the stables, in bad weather the horses may go that way from the Riding House to the stables, and the chimneys may be used for boiling drinks for the horses: and I would have these rooms with Dutch Clinkers. 

The rooms above would answer for the clerks to keep your accounts, or for a person to sleep who has the care of the Riding House, till such time as a proper house is built for the riding master. 

But these things I only fling out as they occur.  I wish my plans may please, and you will make me happy by letting me hear from you when they have been inspected. 

      I ever am, Dr Sir, 
       Your’s very truly, 
        Robt Adam