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Designs for the library, 1789 (3)


The library was particularly important to Robert Fellowes. Its location varied in the several alternative ground floor plans made for him by Soane but was usually on the west side of the house. Here it is also sited to the west and lit by one of the two tripartite windows of the south elevation. An earlier design is referred to by Soane and drawing 23 presumably represents that design but with the addition of pedimented bookcases, fronted by marble-topped tables, between the windows. A problem with maintaining the symmetry of the panelling was resolved by making the doors of varying widths. Soane notes of these doors that the 'Magazins' are to be 4½ and 2½ inches wide. These magazin[e]s labelled 'E' and 'F' appear to be the rails and stiles enclosing the panels. None of the the architectural dictionaries (including W. Papworth, editior for the Architectural Publication Society's, Dictionary of architecture, 1848-92) offer a defInitions for 'magazine' other than as a store, wardrobe, reservoir etc.

Drawing 24 does away with bookshelves enclosed by doors as well as the bookcases between the windows and the result is more harmonious. A further improvement was made on drawing 25 with the end walls made symmetrical with matching doors (one to a closet) and with the same bead moulding describing an arc above the shelves.



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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.

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).  

Contents of Designs for the library, 1789 (3)