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Purpose

Finished drawing for a screen of columns, 1786, unexecuted (1)

Notes

As Cumberland House was located on the south side of Pall Mall, overlooking St James's Park to the rear, it had a very shallow garden. The purpose of this unexecuted screen wall was to enclose the garden without blocking any light. From observation of the drawing it appears that evergreen plants were intended for installation on the screen, as it was their foliage, rather than the architecture, which would have provided a screen to the garden. The plants would therefore have needed to provide year-round coverage.

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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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