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Working drawings for the basement and foundations, 1 May 1798 (2)

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Drawing 153 was sent to John Pullinger, the clerk of works at Bentley Priory and a master carpenter and clerk of works for various Soane buildings, including Aynhoe Park in 1799 (q.v.). Drawing 154 is a plan 'for the Digger' for the foundations of the entrance hall.

Drawing 153 has three rough elevations in Soane's hand showing alternative designs for the entrance hall exterior. All correspond to the floor plan, suggesting that the entrance hall exterior design was not settled when the foundations were excavated.

The elevations show distinct designs, two of them bearing resemblances to Soane's contemporaneous Bullion Arch at the Bank of England (q.v.): one design is a triumphal arch form betweeen domed pavillions; and the other has a pedimented upper storey ornamented with antefixes and faced with three round-headed narrow arches. The third, in feint pencil, has prominent domed ends and a central arched door between pilasters.

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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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