In this article we argue against the widely held view that Lord Burlington's love for architecture was inspired by the writings of the third Earl of Shaftesbury, particularly his Letter Concerning Design. First, we seek to demonstrate that Burlington could not have been familiar with, or even aware of, Shaftesbury's Letter until long after the development of his interest in architecture. Secondly, we argue that Shaftesbury's true architectural heirs advanced an agenda that was distinct from, and even hostile to, Burlingtonian Palladianism; and that the supposed link between the Letter and Burlington has served to distract historians from this. We suggest, thirdly, that the importance assigned to the Letter by architectural historians has derived from a longstanding and hugely influential interpretation of the rise of Burlingtonian Palladianism, an interpretation undermined by much recent work by revisionist architectural historians but still prevalent. Finally, having argued against the link between Shaftesbury and Burlington, we posit an alternative source for Burlingtonian Palladianism.