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Purpose

Drawing made for exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1803 (1)

Notes

The above perspective completes the set of Library designs. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1803, and the perspective is likely to have been completed in late 1802 at the earliest. Gandy often made perspectives in March for the April exhibition at the RA.

The painted curtain framing Gandy's perspective gives the Library an air of theatricality. The watercolour also gives many clues about the items from Soane's collection intended for the library. Above the door the cast relief of 'The Dancing Hours' from the Palazzo Borghese can be seen, which is still in situ today. The drawings lining the walls and the unrolled plan on the table look very much like images of the Bank of England - of which Soane was Surveyor.

Soane's diary describes arranging vases in the the Breakfast Room, in January 1803. It is likely that the Library was complete by a similar period i.e. January -. Gandy's perspective shows the room in full use, however, with the fire blazing and books and papers strewn across the floor. Mrs Soane can also be seen in the Breakfast Room beyond.

Literature

Helen Dorey, 'Sir John Soane's Pitzhanger' in Trackers, exhibition catalogue, PM Gallery and House, 2004, p.23; A. Graves, Royal Academy Exhibitors: A Complete Dictionary 1769-1904, Kingsmead Reprints, 1970

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Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).