Samuel Wyatt at Shugborough
Engineer and Architect Samuel Wyatt, whose family originated from Lichfield, was employed by Thomas Anson II to extend the mansion and create an impressive farm.
Wyatt began by enlarging the side wings of the mansion, and added a vast portico of eight Ionic columns, made from timber, slate and Coade stone in front of the front door. Wyatt had a fascination with new materials that were associated with the emerging industrial technology. This is why he faced the exterior walls with slate, polished and painted to look grey, like ashlar, and installed new window bars made from copper alloy.
Wyatt’s work was also designed to make the house more comfortable, this includes some of Shugborough’s most refined and magnificent interiors. The transformation of the Entrance Hall was particularly ingenious, creating an oval space from a square room, lined with scagliola columns. The same material was used in Wyatt’s new Saloon of 1803-6, which replaced Anson’s former Dining Room.
The most impressive space is the enormous Red Drawing Room created in 1794 with plasterwork by Joseph Rose and a chimney piece by Richard Westmacott the Younger. It remains Wyatt’s largest and grandest surviving interior. An impressive suite of seat furniture, almost identical to a set at Waddesdon and made by Charles Smith & Co., upholsterers to the George III, was commissioned to furnish the interior.
Samuel Wyatt, who had earlier worked at Holkham and Kedleston, was further employed by Anson to design a model farm, Park Farm, and a walled kitchen garden, around 1805. Park Farm, designed as a showpiece was located in the centre of the park close to the Tower of the Winds, which Wyatt also partially converted into a functioning dairy. The farm included a steward’s house, a water-powered corn mill, stables, cattle sheds, hoggery and a brew house.
In the early 19th century the farm operated on a grand scale with over 2,000 acres being cultivated. Barley, wheat, turnips and hay were grown and there were over 100 head of cattle, including Staffordshire Longhorns and 30 dairy cows, as well as a flock of Southdown sheep. You can see these wonderful breeds here today.