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Variant designs for a five-bay house and a seven-bay house, each of three storeys with pavilion wings, perhaps made for publication, c. April to September 1788 (2)

Notes

A version of drawing 18 was published as plate 2 in Soane's Plans, elevations and sections of buildings erected in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk…, 1788 (1789). The caption (list of plates) reads: 'The entrance front as executed'. This was not the case, however, since the pavilion wings were not carried out, the columns were not necked and the blind segmental arches above the ground floor windows had segmental pediments rather than the large discs seen in the engraving.

Drawing 18 is close to the built design, allowing that is, for the unbuilt pavilions, the unexecuted decoration of the frieze, the lack of necking, the solid rather than glazed front door, and the addition (in the built design) of segmental pediments to the ground floor windows.

Drawing 19 is for a seven-bay front, 86 feet wide which is six feet more than the five-bay front of drawing 18. It appears wider by more than six feet, because the blank end-bays of drawing 18 now have niches and windows, the frieze is continued across the entire front which is articulated by eight pilasters rather than six.

The elevations are not dated but, on the evidence of the other drawings catalogued here, might logically have been made before January 1788 (working drawings 16-17) or even before September 1787-January 1788 (details for stonework drawings 14-15). However, there is the possibility that the variant designs with their distinctive pavilion wings (that do not appear on other of the drawings) were made specifically for engraving; an example of Soane 'improving' a design for publication. The agreement between Soane and the publishers (Messrs Taylor at the Architectural Library) was made on 26 March 1788, the drawings and text were delivered by 10 September 1788 and the plates are dated 1 January 1789. (Harris and Savage, op.cit.). A circa date of between April and September 1788 for the drawings seems feasible.

Literature

E. Harris and N. Savage, British architectural books and writers 1556-1785, 1990, p.428

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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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