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Working drawing for the cornice, July 1810


The full size detail shows a stone cornice with drip above a narrow 'paving brick' (defined in W. Papworth (ed) for the Architectural Publication Society, Dictionary of architecture, published in parts 1848-1892) as purpose-made for pavements and measuring 9x4½x1¾. The shorter dimensions of Soane's paving brick are 4½ x 1½. The upright brick is the usual 9 inches and the two bricks form a dentil course or 'toothing'. At Moggerhanger, the house (including the cornice) was rendered with Parker's Metallic Stucco so that the irregularities of old and new brickwork were masked. With Soane's brick facades, the dentil course or toothing is easier to read.
The drawing catalogued here is from a folder of 80 drawings of which about half are for cornices. Soane's office filing system for drawings of details often grouped them so as to make for easy retrieval for use on another job.
Below is a preliminary note for Soane Museum cataloguers from the unpublished glossary of terms for Soane's architecture.

Toothing. Generally 'toothing' describes the projection of alternate stretcher bricks laid vertically under an eaves, cornice or string course. Soane's version of toothing employs slightly T-shaped projections, for example, in his preliminary design for a dairy at Betchworth Castle, (not dated) from 1789 (volume 42/154) that is labelled 'brick Tryglyphs' [triglyphs] that were to be used with ‘flints between’. The domed caps to the (flint) gate piers at Pitzhanger Manor (variant designs 168, 170 - SM 32/1/17-18), have masonry toothing. Built examples of toothing at Soane's own houses (front elevations of Nos 12 and 14) have a pair of stretcher bricks placed vertically with a single horizontal stretcher placed at the top. Other examples found on drawings have a single stretcher brick placed vertically with a half-stretcher brick placed horizontally at the top. 'Toothing' is presumably the English vernacular version of 'Dentilation' but it seems an appropriate term for Soane's idiosyncratic version. jl Jan.2011



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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 Working drawing for the cornice, July 1810