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Working drawing and record copies of a variant design for the bridge, July 1793 and February 1808 (2)


Drawings 33 and 34 do not show the executed design for the bridge, as the finished version had solid partitions and less ornament. Drawings 33 and 34 show a shallow segmental arch springing from the bases of two abutments faced with apsidal niches and festoon sculptural reliefs. The partitions consist of an iron railing ornamented with Soane's characteristic rosette and lozenge motif. The bridge is 20 feet wide and it spans across a river 60 feet wide. The wing walls curve outwards at both ends, recalling Soane's 1776 design for a triumphal bridge (see separate scheme). Stone pedestals mark the ends of the iron and stone walls. Soane has marked the heights of three potential water levels beneath the bridge, including a precautionary 'level of the highest flood ever known'.

On 8 July 1793, Soane wrote to Mr Praed about the bridge design at Tyringham. Soane responded to Praed's concern about the bridge's height, assuring him that it was his intention 'to keep the spring[in]g course three feet above the General level of the water'. Soane preferred the appearance of a lower bridge and, he conceded, a lower bridge was easier to construct. The drawing shows the arch springing approximately 3¼ feet above the lowest water level, with 'ordinary floods' at a level even with the springing course.

Soane consulted John Haverfield, the Royal Gardener at Kew, about the situation and design of the bridge. Soane and Haverfield visited Tyringham together on 25 January 1793 and Soane visited Haverfield in February and March 1793, noting in his Journal No 2 that on 17 March Soane 'went on horseback to Mr Havervield abt situation of Bridge' and on 24 March 'Meyer went to Mr Haverfield, Kew, for instructions concerning Bridge.' Soane then sent to Haverfiel variant drawings for the house on 20 June 1793. They continued to visit Tyringham together from 1795 to 1797 but the extent and nature of Haverfield's work at Tyringham is not recorded. See drawings 128 and 130 for designs by Haverfield of a vinery and a peachery.



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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 and record copies of a variant design for the bridge, July 1793 and February 1808 (2)