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Variant designs for a cottage, April 1793 (2)


On 20 April 1793 Soane's office delivered to Lady Hardwicke three variant designs for cottages and a Sunday school. Drawings 9 and 10 show two designs but neither seems to include a Sunday school; perhaps this was part of the third design, or the school was meant to occupy the communal room in drawing 9.

Drawings 9 and 10 are designs for semi-detached cottages for the Wimpole estate. Both buildings contain two separate dwellings and a shared entrance porch. Drawing 9 incorporates a shared 'shop' between the dwellings; this room was probably a workshop. In each, a separate staircase ascends behind the respective kitchen.

The buildings have thatched roofs and round-headed windows. They are small buildings with varied rooflines, built to sit nicely within the landscape. Both of the drawings show the buildings set amont the landscape, before a pond and a winding dirt path. They are designed in a 'picturesque' style, contributing charm and interest to the landscape. The houses would have housed workers on the estate.

In 1784, Soane designed five cottages for the Earl of Hardwicke (then Philip Yorke) at Hamels Park (q.v.). At Wimpole, Soane designed three more cottages. The executed designs of these buildings are unknown, though an existing cottage now called 'French House' can be identified as one of them (D. Stroud, p. 761).



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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 designs for a cottage, April 1793 (2)