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Variant designs for a brick cottage, and one design for a clay cottage, September 1794 (3)


Soane built three cottages at Wimpole. Drawings 11 and 12 are probably variant designs for one cottage built of brick, with drawing 13 serving as a design for a separate 'clay' cottage. All three drawings are semi-detached and on two-storeys, with a layout of one bay deep and five bays long. The centre range pushes slightly forward on both the front and rear elevations.

Drawings 11 and 12 show dwellings with separate entrances and separate chimneys. A room in the middle of the plan, on both ground and first floors, is allocated to the dwelling on the right-hand side of the sheet. The designs show a tall gabled thatched roof with conical hoods over some ranges.

Drawing 13, for a clay building, has a similar layout but on larger dimensions. The dwellings share an entrance porch and a large chimneystack, as well as a room in the middle that resembles the 'shop' in drawing 9. As John Martin Robinson writes, mud was approached with renewed interest by Georgian agricultural improvers. Mud was a cheap, tax-free material with a long history of vernacular usage, and improvers experimented with various usages until a sufficient method of earth-walling called 'pisé' was devised around 1790 (J.M. Robinson, pp. 52-53). Lord Hardwicke was one of the first improvers to pioneer this building method. The building survives today on Arrington Road and is known as the French House (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 brick cottage, and one design for a clay cottage, September 1794 (3)