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Design for a hothouse, 23 August 1792

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Drawing 116 shows Soane's use of contemporary innovations in gardening technology. The hothouse has two fruit sheds divided by a glass partition, with one (the peachery) heated by flues of hot air surrounding the interior and attached to a 'stove room' at the far end and sunken 3 feet 6 inches below ground. The hot air rises from segmental arches at floor level in the fruit rooms. The building is covered with a lean-to glass roof, an 18th century innovation in greenhouse design. Such hot air systems were derived from hypocaust technology of Roman times. They were replaced by hot water systems in the early 19th century.

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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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