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Theoretical reconstructions of the ruins made for publication (3)


Drawings 267 and 269 both show perspectives of the ruins with, above, an elevation of the ruins in a hypothetical reconstructed state - drawing 267 showing the temple front and drawing 269 the triumphal arch. This volume was privately printed and distributed.

Drawing 269 gives an impression of all the interior courtyard facades of the ruins as they might have looked, both in plan and elevation.

Drawings 268 and 269 are notable as the first of these later retrospective views to suggest an alternative design for the reconstructed ruins. Bianca De Divitiis suggests that 'If we assume... that the ruins shown in the first watercolours which Richardson produced between the end of July and the middle of August 1832 are similar to those designed by Soane thirty years earlier, the subsequent drawings are very different'. Specifically, rather than using the Temple of Clitumnus as a source that explains the different door levels of arch and temple, the rationale is now in terms of access to the temple - the staircase concealed within the curved walls.


B. De Divitiis, 'Plans, Elevations and Perspective Views of Pitzhanger Manor-House', pp. 55-74, Architectural History Vol 48, 2005, p. 64-65; C. Woodward (ed.), Visions of ruin: architectural fantasies and designs for garden follies, exhibition catalogue, Sir John Soane's Museum 1999, p.30



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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 Theoretical reconstructions of the ruins made for publication (3)