- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
As Ptolemy Dean writes, the farm yard 'incorporated all of the latest technical requirements of the day, with the buildings carefully laid out according to function. They overlooked a symmetrical courtyard. At the same time, the functional "modernity" of the plan was not reflected in the materials used to construct the buildings themselves. Instead of using solid masonry, traditional timber framing was clad with weatherboard, the roofs were thatched instead of slated, and the overall effect reflected the Cambrideshire vernacular. The centrepiece of the development was Soane's barn, externally resembling a traditional medieval tithe barn but provided with a sophisticated pattern of structural timber framing modelled on Swiss precedent, which created a span unobstructed by columns' (P. Dean, p. 70).
The verso of the presentation drawing has rough plans in Soane's hand, showing three variant designs for an additional range of offices to the south-west of the farm yard. The range forms a crescent, with the dairy in the middle. Also included is a hen house, shed, and dove cot. Some of the labels are illegible.
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.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).