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Theoretical reconstruction of some aspects of the ruins (7)


All the drawings within this scheme are reconstructions of particular aspects of the ruins.

Drawing 270 shows a hypothetical reconstruction but without any imagined excavation below ground level. The temple front has been 'rebuilt', though without the lower storey, as well as the triumphal arch but the arch columns are still underground apart from their capitals.

The archway itself is very tall, and the colonnade only starts halfway up a tall surrounding wall. The temple is set much higher within the scheme. Drawing 271 shows a very similar aspect, as does drawing 272. Drawings 273 and 274 progress to show the temple and arch as they could have been, a two storey temple and a one storey triumphal arch with a high colonnade on either side.

Bianca De Divitiis draws attention to Soane's new speculation as to the ruins classical, medieval-ecclesiastical and reformation origins. In Soane’s own words: ‘on removing the earth to about twelve feet below the present surface, the bases of columns and parts of tessellated pavements became visible; likewise various statues of pagan divinities, and many pieces of columns, cornices, and capitals, of Roman workmanship; together with various fragments in the taste of the ecclesiastical buildings erected in the middle ages’.


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 reconstruction of some aspects of the ruins (7)