Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Record drawings and drawing made for publication of theoretical reconstruction of entire ruin complex (4)



Record drawings and drawing made for publication of theoretical reconstruction of entire ruin complex (4)


Drawings 277 to 279 were watercolours later printed as lithographs both in Memoirs and in Plans, elevations and perspective views. Drawing 280 as the proof copy of Memoirs shows the drawings as they were to be laid out in the printed version.

Soane's description of the theoretical reconstruction of the ruins in Plans, elevations and perspective views follows a gradual (imaginary) process eventually halted by the existing buildings. Plate XII, which consists of lithographs of drawing 280, is referred to as follows: 'By dint of perseverance and a warm imagination, assisted by the ancient remains, the entire edifice was restored in some degree to its ancient magnificence'.

The drawings for the (theoretical) reconstruction by Soane of the fake ruins built by him in about 1804, shows that the plan was broadly that of a basilica. The triumphal arch entrance with quadrant wings each enclosing a stair gives on to a courtyard facing the temple.

Much statuary is included (the 'remains' of which presumably found their way into Soane's cast room). The triumphal arch can be seen as part of a system of repetitive motifs, used by Soane throughout Pitzhanger, from the gated entrance to the house facade. The addition of the same to a 'classical ruin' could be attributed to Soane's desire to reference an Antique source.


B. De Divitiis, 'Plans, Elevations and Perspective Views of Pitzhanger Manor-House', pp.55-74, Architectural History, volume 48, 2005, p.61; ed. C. Woodward, Visions of ruin: architectural fantasies and designs for garden follies, exhibition catalogue, Sir John Soane's Museum 1999, p.30



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).  

Contents of Record drawings and drawing made for publication of theoretical reconstruction of entire ruin complex (4)