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Variant preliminary designs for the ground floor, 7 and 9 March 1822 (2)


Drawings 1 and 2 show preliminary designs for Pell Wall. The drawings were made in early March 1822, less than two weeks after Soane records his first meeting with client Purney Sillitoe (SNB 169). The house has a bombé front on the north side, which encloses a large drawing room with views of Market Drayton. The entrance on the east front leads to a long corridor and a geometrical staircase. Columns, arches and stairs break up the corridor into a variety of bays, framing views and encouraging movement through the space.

The earlier plan, drawing 1, shows the house as 71 feet 3 inches by 52 feet 1 and a half inches; drawing 2 has a plan 70 feet by 52 feet 1 and a half inches. Drawing 1 is wider in its central bay, resulting in a wider drawing room and enlarged corridors around the stairwell. The design of the entrance hall also varies, with the earlier drawing showing narrow windows flanking the entrance. Drawing 1 has erasures on the main stair, probably for correcting the number of risers. A rough preliminary design for the domestic offices has been added in pencil to both drawings 1 and 2, showing stairs surrounding an 'office court'.

Room labels in drawing 2 have been included by Soane in pencil and by another office hand in pen. Soane's inscriptions amend some room labels so that the library and eating rooms exchange places. The room on the bottom left hand side of the drawing has been labelled 'Mr Sillitoe's Room'; in later drawings this room would become the breakfast room (see drawings 32-34). The upper left and right-hand corners of the sheet have landscapes in pen and wash.

The Soane Office Day Books record that George Ives (an assistant) worked on plans for a house on 4 March and that Soane's pupils, Papendiek and Mee, worked on the plans for the rest of the week. It is therefore suggested that drawings 1 and 2 were laid out by Ives and finished in pen and wash (including landscape) by the pupils.


W. Palin (ed.), Saving Wotton: the remarkable story of a Soane country house, Sir John Soane's Museum, 2006.



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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 Variant preliminary designs for the ground floor, 7 and 9 March 1822 (2)