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Preliminary designs for re-modelling the house, 13 November 1808 (2)


Soane's rough preliminary design (42 a and b) was cut up to make labels for his collection of drawings made by James Playfair (1755-1794) probably by George Bailey (1792-1860, pupil then assistant, 1806-37, curator 1837-60). Here it is partly re-united.
Drawing 43 is the first of four variant designs that takes a footprint of about 80 feet by 62 feet deep (north-south), the original one having been about 62 feet wide (north-south) by 70 feet deep. The entrance via a portico is now on the north side and leads (drawing 43) into a domed vestibule; an idea re-introduced in drawings 60 and 61 (dated 11 February 1809) but then dropped. The three rooms on the east side are made out of three existing rooms from the first building phase: the Soane-designed drawing room becomes the library, the entrance hall now a room for Stephen Thornton and the old (pre-Soane) eating room now the drawing room. All else is new.



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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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Contents of Preliminary designs for re-modelling the house, 13 November 1808 (2)