Shortly before the coronation of George I in October 1714, an English antiquarian named John Talman reported from Venice on the progress of his plan to transport ‘curiositys [such as] pillars of various dimensions & colourd marbles; Busto’s, bassirelievi, Statues, tables of Porfiry & c . . . from y mediterranean to London to furnish a Palace. . . of a King. . . yt. shou’d outdo y world’. Since the destruction of Whitehall Palace by fire in 1698, provision for a new and more glamorous royal residence had been a leading issue among writers, politicians and architects as part of their unprecedentedly ambitious scheme to make London ‘the most flourishing City in the Universe’. A number of different designs for various sites were submitted from time to time. The majority were, like Talman’s, too expensive or extravagant to be realized. Certainly the most remarkable of these are the designs, now preserved in the Scottish Record Office, for palaces for James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, in St James’s Park and the ‘King’s Paddock’ at Kensington, prepared between 1718 and 1730 by John Erskine, 11th Earl of Mar (1675–1732), each of which he regarded as ‘worthy of the Grandeur of the King and Kingdom of England’. The seriousness with which the Earl regarded the project is apparent in the large number of meticuously rendered and annotated drawings associated with it — more than were made for any other of his many architectural schemes — and by the detailed account he provided in his manuscript Description of the Designe for a New Royall Palace for the King of Great Britain at London, 1726, here published in full for the first time (pp. 110–17).