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Presentation drawings of the entrance hall, one for exhibition at the Royal Academy, one dated 1 May 1798 (3)


Dorothy Stroud writes that 'the most interesting survival at Bentley Priory is the Greek Doric entrance vestibule.' Windows filled with bands of coloured glass filtered yellow light into the room. The walls of the room were painted to resemble Sienna marble.

See SM 14/1/9 for a lecture drawing of the interior as in drawing 152 but showing a variant stained glass design with blue and red panes in a semicircular arrangement, omitting the railing on the staircase and the relief panel over the arched door, and including incised line mouldings on the ceiling and architraves, banded rustication on the lower wall, and a stove consisting of a strigilated pedestal supporting a trophy of arms. This lecture drawing presumably shows the built design.

Soane exhibited a drawing of the entrance hall at the Royal Academy in 1799, entitled 'The hall now building at Bentley Priory, a seat of the Marquis of Abercorn' (935).

A single drawing for Bentley Priory is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This drawing shows an interior perspective of the entrance hall, looking south, in the opposite direction from the other perspectives, drawings 150-152 and SM 14/1/9. The drawing probably shows the hall as executed, with the baseless Doric columns on pedestals lining the room and supporting the cross vaulted ceiling overhead. The perspective shows statues of female figures flanking the door. The drawing measures 605 x 850. It is a skillful representation, showing the room's variety of light and shadow, and for this reason it may be attributed to draughtsman JM Gandy. See catalogue by Pierre du Prey.



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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 Presentation drawings of the entrance hall, one for exhibition at the Royal Academy, one dated 1 May 1798 (3)