Saltram, Devonshire -
The Seat of Lord Boringdon
Published by Vernor, Hood & Sharpe, Poultry, Jun 1 1809
Drawn by Thompson: Engraved by T. Bonnor
From a sketch by S. Prout
Original copper line engraving from The Beauties of England and Wales or Original Delineations, Topographical, Historical and Descriptive of Each County. This series formed 18 volumes in 26 books published between 1801 and 1815 and included 688 plates. The first nine volumes were written by the antiquarian and topographer John Britton (1771-1857) in conjunction with his friend Edward Brayley. Volume IV (1803) comprised the counties of Devon and Dorset. Samuel Prout was an illustrator and watercolourist employed by Britton initially to tour Cornwall and create views for his Beauties series. Thomas Bonnor was an engraver living at Mill Hill, Hendon from 1781. James Robert Thompson was an artist who worked on several of Britton’s works.
The print is a view from the south-west towards Saltram House, situated east of the River Plym near Plymouth in Devon. The original Tudor house was built by the Bagg family, but this was acquired by Lord Carteret in 1690, who built a three storey west block. The property was sold in 1712 to George Parker who enclosed 220 acres to form a deer park. Extensive work was done by his son John and Lady Catherine Parker, who replaced the Tudor mansion in 1743, making it the largest mansion in the County of Devon.
Their son John Parker became the first Lord Boringdon in 1784, and he constructed the three Georgian style facades (west front was 170 feet; south and east 130 feet). He brought in Robert Adam, who working together with Parker’s local friend Joshua Reynolds, designed and furnished the new staterooms with fine collections of furniture and paintings. It was in Saltram’s new Saloon that the Waltz was danced for the first time in England. Also the gardens, lawns and woods were improved in the Arcadian Style.
The second Lord Boringdon inherited Saltram and became the First Earl of Morley in 1788. In 1797 the artist and antiquarian Reverend John Swete wrote of Lord Boringdon’s “beautiful villa”. In 1807, Parker received a Society of Arts Gold Medal for his improvements at Saltram, including a new approach to the house and the recovery of Chelson Meadow from the sea. However, he brought many debts to the estate and between 1861 and 1894 the house had to be let.
In 1951 the National Trust acquired the Saltram Estate, including the house, its contents and the park land which is open to the public. The house has wonderful views towards the City of Plymouth, Plymouth Sound and Mount Edgecumbe in Cornwall. Saltram also houses some correspondence between the Countess Frances Parker and the authoress Jane Austen. The house itself was used as Norland Park in the 1995 adaptation of Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility. Mrs Henry (Ellen) Wood is supposed to have written her novel East Lynne (1861), based on the Saltram scandal, when in 1808, Lord Boringdon’s wife left him for Sir Arthur Paget.
The print is mounted in an ivory conservation quality mount surrounded by a walnut and gold wood frame with acrylic glazing. The print itself is in a very good clean condition. Approximate dimensions are:
• Engraving size: 157 x 105 mm
• Mount window: 175 x 125 mm
• Frame overall size: 280 x 235 mm