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Designs for a Venetian window, May and July 1788 (2)

Notes

The Venetian window is for the new drawing room and was built at Lees Court at the same time as a new staircase (Journal No 1). On the exterior elevation (drawing 3), the rounded middle window is flanked by two bays framed by Ionic columns and raised on plinths with sunken panels. The architrave and archivolt over the three windows are shown in full size detail on drawing 3. The round-headed centre is aligned with a window above. Two windows are added in feint pencil to the first floor on the exterior elevation, suggesting alterations to that storey.

The interior elevations (drawing 4) show two sides of the drawing room. The window has three bays, as in its exterior, with the end-bays framed by 6-inch pilasters and crowned with an architrave having an incised Greek key pattern. The window reveals are panelled. Across the room, a semicircular blind arch frames double-doors (one blind) beneath a large sculptural panel. The doors have six panels each. An ornate frieze surrounds the room.

On May 15th 1788, Soane sent drawing 3 to 'Burley', the Clerk of Works at Lees Court.

Drawing 3 verso is a survey of the existing buildings on York Street, St James's, London, and was made as Soane was designing a new house for a property on the street. The drawing shows a row of buildings and is dated 7 December 1793. The elevation is for the street front, showing where three doors meet the incline of the pavement. A church lies between a hall and a small two-bay house with an entrance hall and two adjoining rooms on the ground floor, one with a corner chimney-piece. The court behind the house belongs to the church. A 'mews', 'apple' and 'inn yard' are adjacent. This house, as well as the church and hall, were probably surveyed for a Mr Neave, a client for whom Soane designed a house on York Street, St James's, the same week. Soane showed drawings for the house to Neave on the 12th December 1793 (Journal No 2). On the 18th and 19th Soane showed further plans for the house to Lady M. Fordyce. Lady Fordyce's involvement in the commission is not clear: the commission could have been transferred to her or she could have been an interested third party.

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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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