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Working drawings for the new wing, one dated 26 November 1789 (3)


An estimate for the new addition was finalized in November at £10,450. Digging for the foundations began before the end of the month, when drawings 72 to 74 were made. Drawings 72 and 73 are drawings for the basement, drawing 73 being a copy of drawing 72 and with further specifications. Drawing 74 shows the ground floor and was probably made with drawing 71, having the same scale.

The basement floor has windows in all rooms (Bentley Priory was built on a hill sloping to the south). Two staircases descend to the basement, the north stair leading directly to the servants' hall and dressing room, and the south stair leading to three bedrooms beneath the drawing room. The long east-west corridor from the existing house continues into the new wing, reaching a window on the east wall. Half of the space beneath the tribune was previously filled in with earth (see drawing 16); this has been dug out for providing a corridor from the main passage to the north staircase.

The ground floor has wooden partitions and columns in the music room (shown in yellow wash). Soane has once again (as in drawing 68) included plantings on the ground plan, intending to mask the projecting east range from the north.



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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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Contents of Working drawings for the new wing, one dated 26 November 1789 (3)