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Working drawings for the stonework, September 1787 - January 1788 (2)

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Drawing 14 (recto) is a careful copy, with added colour washes and shading, of the details for the pediment and cornice to the south (entrance) front, the cornice to the east and west fronts, the cornice to the north front, and the chimney cappings. The details on the verso, dated three months later, vary from those on the recto and indeed, details on drawing 15 (verso) for the same mouldings also vary, for example, in the proportions of the mouldings to the cornice. It is likely that drawing 15 (with other elevations and details) was made for the mason, initially perhaps for a cost estimate.

Shotesham is a brick building and the amount of stonework is limited for practical and aesthetic reasons to the mouldings and blocking course that could not be executed in anything but stone. So that, for instance, the tympanum is of brick, the cornice is supported by brick dentils and the attic cornice could have a brick fascia (labelled 'C' on drawing 14 verso) while the topmost mouldings ('AAB') were to be of stone. The plain frieze is not carried to the ends of the south front (as in some of the designs) but spans the (brick) pilasters and is the most noticeable stone element. Economy was perhaps a factor but the minimal use of stone and the sensitive use of brick is very successful. The Ionic capitals to the six pilasters are of Coade stone without the necking; more evidence of a wholly a successful minimalist approach.

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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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