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Variant designs for villa E, c. 11-12 July 1800 (7)


Drawing 25, although cropped and re-used for another project, shows a portion of the entrance front for the villa at Acton, corresponding to those of drawings 26 to 31. Drawing 26 seems to correspond to the previous drawing showing the ground floor rectangular window, the base of the first floor window as well as the arched basement window and part of an Ionic column.

Although only drawings 27, 28 and 30 are dated, they clearly form part of a set showing different fronts of the house with the same features discernible in each. Most notably, in each of the three drawings a large lantern surmounting the roof is included. Even though Soane was noted for his use of skylights, this remains an unusually large addition. The other element that unites the first three drawings, in particular, is Soane's use of the scrolled acroterion enclosing a roundel above the side doors in each design - a motif he later employs in his design for the Pizhanger Manor gated entrance and elsewhere. Drawing 27 has another particular feature of note is the central pedestal above the cornice, strigilated and flanked by antefixes. A motif repeated again in the variant design for the west front, drawing 30.

For the purposes of differentiation, the orientation of the elevation sides have been estimated using the west label of drawing drawing 30 as a starting point but would not necessarily have been fixed in Soane's mind.



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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 Variant designs for villa E, c. 11-12 July 1800 (7)