- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
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.
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).