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Design and presentation drawing of the farm yard, one dated 15 May 1794 (2)

Notes

Drawing 33 was delivered to Lord Hardwicke on 16 May 1794, together with two dairy designs (Journal No 2). The pencil alterations on the drawing were probably made by Soane after he consulted with his client. Drawing 32 is a design drawing showing the same plan and elevations for the farm yard. The yard contains a cow house for 15 cows, a stable for 15 horses, a hog shed, barn, two cart sheds and a slaughter house. Pencil alterations to drawing 33 suggest larger cart sheds. The length of the barn is marked out at 110 feet.

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.

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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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