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Presentation drawings of variant designs for a dairy, c. July 1794 (7)


Soane's office deliverd to Lady Hardwicke two dairy designs on 16 May 1794. Two months later, Soane presented to her five more designs on 4 July 1794, and more designs were delivered by Frederick Meyer the next day. As drawings 25 to 31 show, Soane experimented with a wide array of designs for the ornamental building.

Drawings 25 to 31 show variant designs for a dairy arranged between a poulterer and scalding room. The drawings experiment with alternative styles for the building, with variations of neo-classical and vernacular elements. In all the designs, the essential layout is the same and the dairy has canted walls; the dairy is octagonal in plan in all but one drawing.

Drawing 25 shows a more severe neo-classical design, with a building in three parts and fronted by columns that is very much like Soane's designs for an entrance lodge at Wimpole (drawings 17-20). The dairy is behind a round-headed loggia screen and between end pavilions faced with round-headed recesses. Baseless Doric columns frame the passages linking the three ranges. Internally, the rooms are well-separated, with no communication between the poulterer and the rest of the building. As is customary for dairy designs, the scalding room is separated from the main dairy in order to keep the latter cool. The central dairy room has counters against the perimeter and what appear to be columns supporting the ceiling at the centre of the space. Drawing 26 takes on a more monumental tone, with the octagonal room capped by a dome and set behind a pedimented portico supported on four columns. The columns, however, are in the rough form of tree trunks, resembling the dairy Soane had already built for the client at Hamels Park in 1787 (q.v.). The flanking utility rooms are hidden by plantings. Drawing 27 has fewer neo-classical references, tending instead towards the primitive style, with the octagonal dairy behind a low thatched porch fronted by two pedestals supporting dairy cow sculptures. Drawing 28 shows the same style, though the octagonal dairy is not obscured on the front elevation (pencil alterations suggest a loggia, as in drawing 29).

Drawings 29 to 31 are pasted into a different volume but they are part of the same set of presentation drawings. Drawing 29 has a loggia attached to the front of the two-storey octagonal dairy. An alternative elevation shows the loggia beneath a lean-to roof and with heavy horseshoe-shaped arches. The rustic columns are used again in drawing 30, but unlike drawing 26 they are part of a more modest building in keeping with the primitive style. The pedimented entrance front is matched at the rear by a projecting portico (shown only in plan). The final design, drawing 31, is for a thatched building fronted by a pedimented portico supported by four baseless Doric columns with retracted necking. Curiously, the tympanum is pierced by a segmental-arch.

The drawings, and Soane's pencil alterations, describe not only the proposed building but the plantings that surround it. Soane's dairy coincides with alterations to the gardens by William Emes. Emes made further plantings to the grounds and he marked the placement for Soane's estate buildings (D. Stroud, p.760). See drawings 34 to 37 for Eame's site of the proposed dairy.



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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 Presentation drawings of variant designs for a dairy, c. July 1794 (7)