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Topographical drawings of the exterior of the Stone Lodge, 9-10 September 1828 (3)


The stone lodge was built of local sandstone ashlar. This entrance lodge, as indicated by the inscription on drawing 34, was located on the main road at the north entrance to the estate. Visitors from Market Drayton would have passed this remarkable structure.

Though its plan is not strictly triangular, the design of the stone lodge is reminiscent of the Triangular Lodge at Rushton, 1594-7, a fanciful three-storey stone lodge with a recurring triangular theme in both its plan and detail (Buildings of England, Northamptonshire, p. 400-401). The stone lodge at Pell Wall is in keeping with a tradition of park gate lodge architecture. Though the park gate lodge building type is inherently varied and original, its purpose is united, serving as a symbolic and ornamental park feature at the entrance of a country estate. From the eighteenth century, the park gate lodge served as both eyecatcher and as a residence for a worker at the estate, usually the gate keeper and his family. Timothy Mowl points out the duality of these purposes, stating in ‘Trumpets at the Gate’ that the park gate lodge became a ‘testing ground for architectural innovation where utility fought a losing battle with symbolism and display’ (Mowl, p.xii). Soane’s stone lodge is both a residence (see Note for drawings 27-29) and an architectural experiment. As Mowl suggests, the stone lodge’s utility is suspect while its architectural innovation is unquestionable. Free from the specifications of a larger building, Soane experimented with complex geometries and a unique, yet reductive, blend of gothic and classical styles.

The lodge must have been completed before August 1828, as a letter from Purney Sillitoe to Soane, dated 25 August 1828, states that they have 'moved into the new house and have made it tolerably comfortable... The lodge is a great addition to the beauty of the place; its foliage is now in very high order, and ready for the pencil of the artist.' (Priv. Corr. VII.B.1.31). The 'pencil of the artist' arrived in September, as Soane was probably accompanied by Joseph Gandy on his visit there from the 9th to the 21st. Soane's personal notebooks refer to travelling with Gandy on his way home (SNB 196).

Drawing 33 was reproduced in Soane's 'Designs for Public and Private Buildings' (1828, p.42).


G. Worsley, 'Pell Wall Hall, Staffordshire', Country Life, 7 April 1988, illustration 9, p. 137; M. Richardson, and M. Stevens, John Soane architect: master of space and light, 1999, pp. 204 and 205.



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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 Topographical drawings of the exterior of the Stone Lodge, 9-10 September 1828 (3)