Legacy of illuminated manuscripts, £8.99
Plans of Montagu House by Henry Flitcroft
England, AD 1725
In 1725 the architect Henry Flitcroft (1697-1769) was asked to prepare a set of plans of Montagu House, the first home of the British Museum. At the time this grand mansion was lived in by John, 2nd Duke of Montagu. He was proud of his house which was built for his father, Ralph, around 1686 in the French style and where many grand social events took place during the early years of the eighteenth century.
The plans are finely bound and were presented to the Trustees of the British Museum when they bought the house in 1755. They were drawn and painted on parchment and include the coat of arms of the Montagu family. Flitcroft was careful to show every detail; even the slate roof-tiles are drawn individually. Both formal and kitchen gardens are shown, as is the orchard to the west (left) where Bedford Square now lies.