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Preliminary designs for the entrance front: D, 30 August - 4 September 1800 (3)


Drawings 79 to 81 vary very little from each other and are clearly a set of progressively worked up designs, beginning with Soane's original, moving to Sword's copy and another with more shading and detail.

The two characterising features of this scheme are the very large lantern (which was apparently to have stained glass used in the pilasters) and the flint pilasters which articulate the main body of the house. Presumably the effect would have been similar to that of Pitzhanger's gated entrance that Soane later built - flint pilasters against a brick body. G. Darley suggests that the idea of making use of these materials reflects the nostalgic mood in which he bought the house: 'He explored divergent options, toying with the materials of his youth, the flints and clays of the Thames Valley and the Chilterns, a reflection of the retrospective mood in which he had bought the house'.


G. Darley, John Soane: an accidental Romantic, 1999, p.153



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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 Preliminary designs for the entrance front: D, 30 August - 4 September 1800 (3)