Clerk of Penicuik was a leading figure in learned circles in Edinburgh. With William Adam he designed a new house for his estate at Mavisbank from 1722, an important precedent for the Palladian-style villa in Scotland. In 1727 Clerk visited Burlington at Chiswick and saw several Palladian houses, after which he published The Country Seat, a long poem in which Burlingtonian principles of design were expounded. Indeed, he seems to have become a Caledonian equivalent of Burlington, influencing the design of Arniston, Midlothian (1726–38), and Haddo House, Aberdeenshire (1732–5), both of which were built by William Adam, and promoting Palladian restraint throughout the land. His son, Sir James Clerk (1709–82), was also a cultivated man and an amateur architect, who designed Penicuik House in a Palladian style (1761–9).
Colvin (1995);Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
Subjects: Architecture — British History.