This thesis examines the evolution of Saltram House in Devon as a country estate from the years 1743 to 1819, with a focus on the impact of two eighteenth-century generations of the Parker family. These dates have been chosen because Saltram’s architecture, interior design and parkland underwent the most drastic changes during this time. It will argue that Saltram conforms to the existing models of country house scholarship on the form, function and meaning of the country estate during the eighteenth century. This thesis will bring new knowledge to this picture however, by placing Saltram firmly within this scholarship. It will examine the transformation of Saltram initiated by the first generation of eighteenth-century Parkers, John Parker the First and his wife Lady Catherine Parker in 1743. It will then move on to the second generation of eighteenth-century Parkers, John Parker, First Lord Boringdon and his wife Lady Theresa Parker who continued to transform the estate from the year 1768. This thesis will focus on the impact the women of the Parker family had over Saltram’s design by analysing previously understudied family correspondence which details Lady Catherine Parker, Lady Theresa Parker and Theresa’s sister Anne Robinson as the decision makers on Saltram’s design. The thesis will argue that the Parker family were able to become active patrons of the arts, and shape their image, through strategic marriage and accumulated wealth. To do this, the following topics will be studied. Architecture and landscape will be examined with reference to the influence of William Kent and Capability Brown landscape design. Robert Adam, one of the leading neo-classical architects of the eighteenth century and the lesser known Nathaniel Richmond, a student of the leading landscape designer Capability Brown and their involvement will also be examined. The Chinoiserie style, with a focus on the lesser known Chinese wallpaper collection will also be examined bringing new knowledge to an understudied subject. Some discussion will be made of the well-known Robert Adam interiors of Saltram House. The thesis will then end on the extensive portraiture collection of Saltram House including the Parker family portraits by Plympton born Sir Joshua Reynolds, the leading portrait painter of the eighteenth century. The importance of portraiture, display and iconography when shaping and representing the image of a sitter will also be examined.

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.