Art Wednesday: The tale of two buildings

Today's Art Wednesday is a little different from others as I just had to share a fascinating story with you. It is the story of two buildings.  One built in 1725 and the other in the 19th century. 

Bowood House (below) was (and still is) the home of the Lansdowne family in the county of Somerset.  General Sir William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne lived in Bowood House with his young wife Lady Sophia (who became the Countess of Shelbourne).   In her day, Sophia was considered a “trend setter” — her home was held up for being one of “good taste” and one to copy. Even though her home was one created as a result of huge wealth, she understood the value of a home, and how important it was to her family. And this is what she set out to create. Sadly Sophia died at the age of 25 (1745-1771).

Bowood House (above) is what it once looked like and below is the house now.
Still inhabited by the Lansdowne family.
The library in Bowood House.

Moving forward to 1956, Bowood required massive repairs and due to economic reasons a sizable section of the home was demolished. One room to be demolished was the Adam Great Room, but instead of being destroyed, the room, in its entirety was bought by Lloyds of London

Lloyds (established in 1688 as a insurance company for the shipping industry), in 1978 commenced their futurist building in the middle of London.  It is an amazing piece of architectural design and the following pictures give you an idea of the size and scale of this post-modernist structure (often called the "inside out" building). This new building couldn't be further from Bowood—but their stories do intertwine.

The architect of the Lloyds of London headquarters, Terence Heysham, had an idea for recreating the Adam Room in its entirety (including the original plaster) into the new building. The room even matches the dimensions of the original room at Bowood House.  Now within this post-modernist building sits this amazing room taken directly from a home of the 1700's.  The room can be found on the 13th floor (top floor) of Lloyds.

The room was named after Robert Adam, the neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer — a number of stately homes in Britain were designed by Adams.  Adam design Bowood and in particular the room that is now called the "Adam Room" at Bowood House in 1763 so Sophia would have played a part in the final look.  Isn't it amazing that this room has not only survived but found its way into the most unlikely place.



  1. That second place is crazy!

  2. What an interesting story, Jo! Between today and yesterday, this week must be the week of contrasts on your blog!!!! :)

  3. Ah. I love stories of rescued period rooms. There are a lot of these in the Met in New York, and someday, so help me, I'm going to go see them!

  4. Clara - it happened quite by mistake, not planned at all- I even managed to use the word "two" in both headings. I only noticed it when you mentioned it:)

  5. What an amazing legacy to have been left by a 25 year old! She must have been a very talented young lady with a lot of vision.

  6. How wonderful that the Adam Great Room was saved by Lloyds of London. I've never seen either building and enjoyed seeing all these photos.

  7. Wow this is an incredible story - what a magnificent house - and to move that room is an unbelievable feat. This is a great post Jo - I love that you are so interesting - I would NEVER have known this great story otherwise!



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