152. Nicholas Stone the Younger (English, 1618-1647)
Sketchbook containing drawings of buildings in France and Italy: plans, elevations, sections, and details of churches, and villas in Paris, Florence, and Rome, 1638-47
Paper bound in marbles boards with leather spine, 12 x 15 ½ in. (30.5 x 39 cm), open
By courtesy of the Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, Soane sketchbooks, vol. 93
Fols 7/7a, showing the façade and plan of the ‘Palazzi Corzini della Parte dell Arno, Firenze’ (Corsini Palace on the bank of the Arno)
Prov: Nicholas Stone the Younger (1618-1647); possibly by descent to one of his brothers, Henry (1616-1653), or John Stone (1620-1667); by descent to Charles Stoakes, last surviving relative of the Stones, wo inscribed it; later acquired by the sculptor James Paine Junior (1745-1829), c.1775; sold at Christie’s, London, 12 March 1830, the property of James Paine Junior, lots 21, 22, 24 and 25 (with Nicholas Stone the Elder’s account book and office notebook, and Henry Stone’s sketchbook); acquired by Sir John Soane (1753-1837).
The ‘diary’ of Nicholas Stone the Younger (1618-1647), now among the Harley Manuscripts at the British Library, contains a detailed account of his travels with his brother Henry through France and Italy; it also provides the only detailed account of the journey of William Paston (future first Baronet, 1660-1663). Like Henry’s sketchbook, Nicholas the Younger’s sketchbook supplements the diary with visuals as well as notes. In all, the book, (re?)bound in the eighteenth century along with henry’s sketchbook, contains seventy leaves, thirty-nine sides of which contain annotated drawings in graphite, pen and ink with wash, and occasionally red chalk, and sometimes made on separate sheets laid down, most of which are architectural in nature.
The first page contains a drawing made a the Cathedral ‘St Denis by Paris’ in May 1638; the Stones made their way to Italy via France, meeting up with William Paston in Florence on 1 August. Several other pages contain the plans of churches and villas (fol. 3 shows, according to Stone, ‘plans of a chapple in Florence done by John d’Bologna, sculpture / July 1638’; fol. 8 shows a plan of the Duomo, Florence; and fol. 27 depicts part of the plan of the Villa Medici, Rome, inscribed ‘gallery towards the pallasse… inventor michell agnelo bonorrotto [sic]… 1639’). Facades of buildings were also drawn (fols. 7 and 7a, showing the ‘Palazzo Corzini dalla Parte dell Arno, Firenze’, with pan, shown here; and fol. 18 showing part of the ‘Sa Suzanna [Santa Susanna, Qurinal Hill], Roma’).
After Paston’s return from Jerusalem he re-joined the Stones in Rome, and Nicholas the Younger continued to make drawings for him, recording ancient and modern architecture, probably in connection with the renovations Nicholas the Elder was undertaking at Oxnead. One of Nicholas the Younger’s drawings depicts the ‘Pleasure house’ at Cardinal Ludovisini’s Roman villa, ‘drawen for W / Paston’ and dated March 1639. Fols. 35-39 contain an ‘abstract’ from the journal in the hand of George Vertue; this is followed by pages of Nicholas Stone the Younger’s ow accounts for 1646-47 (fols. 40-45) along with draft letters, for example one to his cousin Thomas de Keyser, dated 12 November 1646 (fol. 43).
There is also a design for a carved picture frame in the auricular style, as well as curious drawings of a machine for grinding pieces of stone for pietre dure (fol. 48, described fol. 47, and dated August 1638), and of another wheel driven machine used ‘to drill holes through porphery or the like hard stone, in the chappel of St Lawrence’ (that is, Basilica di San Lorenzo, the resting place of the Medici; fol. 49), both of which Stone apparently observed, perhaps with William Paston, at the Duke of Tuscany’s Galleria dei Lavori.
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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