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Design and survey drawing, 1786-7

Notes

The areas washed in 'Red' (that is, pink) are the rectangular building of 1724 and the north-west part of the offices housing the kitchen, bakehouse and brewhouse. A comparison of these areas with the survey plan (drawing 1) shows little change: a partition removed in the 1724 building, the offices regularized and with a covered way added. What is missing from drawing 2 are three sides (south, east and north) of the larger courtyard complex. Thus the remodelled eastern end now runs in a straight line south to north from the 1724 building creating a 7 x 8 x 7-bay building with an irregular western end facing the service courtyard. Internally, the arrangement of reception rooms is unresolved and there are some pencil amendments. The north front is of seven bays as executed though the rooms behind differ from those shown on drawing 6 or on the published plan. An unlabelled room to the left of the entrance hall is probably a chapel, it has a chancel end quite similar to that on drawing 4 (also attributed to William Heaton). The drawing has been much used and was probably kept on site for some time. The attribution to William Heaton is based on a comparison of the hand writing on this drawing (room labels) with a bill (SM 16/15/3) addressed to 'Mr Soane' for work at the 'Offis' in November and December 1787 and January and February 1788 at the rate of 4 shilling and 2 pence a day. On 4, 5, 11, 12 and 13 February Heaton was 'drawing plans' (SM 'Journal No1'). Having presented his bill on the evening of 14 February 1788, Heaton was dismissed by Soane on 16 February 'from objecting to go into the Country after he had settled to go on the Monday Following' but paid 'in full of all demands'. Before this spell in the office Heaton was at Chillington, presumably as clerk of works, from 1 May 1786 to 27 October 1787 for which he was paid in all £109.11.9½ (SM Ledger A). It seems that Heaton, as an employee, was rather troublesome. Documents in the Boulton Archive in the Archives Division of Birmingham Central Library show that in 1796 William Heaton was engaged by James Wyatt as Clerk of Works on Matthew Boulton's house at Soho, Birmingham (MBP375/47). However, he became the object of much complaint since among else, he took it upon himself to alter Wyatt's designs (260). (Information from Susan Palmer of the Soane Museum, 1998, SM green box files - Soane office file.)

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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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