Ditchley (Fig. 1) is the first known collaboration between Gibbs and Francis Smith — or, more accurately, the first building in which they are both known to have been engaged. There are six others in which both men’s names appear among the documents: at All Saints’, Derby and the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford, Gibbs is known to have been the architect and Smith the contractor; the same can with confidence be assumed at Kelmarsh Hall (Northants), Patshull Hall (Staffs) and the stables at Compton Verney (Warwicks). Smith was himself evidently the architect for most of his long sequence of building works at Badminton, but presumably he also built the pavilions which Gibbs designed during the same period. At Ditchley, despite the appearance of the house in Gibbs’s Book of Architecture (Fig. 2) and in two sets of preparatory drawings in his hand (Fig. 4), there is good reason to think that the design is not his alone. The house as built differs significantly from both the drawings and the engravings, which differ less importantly from one another. Furthermore it is plain that Smith was on the scene before Gibbs and may have anticipated Gibbs by building one of the pavilions before the latter arrived.
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