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Presentation drawings of a variant design for the house, one dated December 1793 (4)


The ground floor plan of this set is missing, but drawings 39 to 41 appear to be the earliest existing plans for the basement, mezzanine and first floors. Drawing 42 is a copy of the mezzanine and basement drawings.

The basement, as in drawing 39, is linked to the office building on the right-hand side of the plan, although there doesn't appear to be a direct communication between the offices and this basement level. The basement has a kitchen, housekeeper's room, store room, scullery, wine cellar, butler's room quarters, servants' hall, and a cellar for ale, cider and beer. The kitchen has a 12 foot high ceiling, 2 to 3 feet higher than the other basement rooms. The groin vaults in the wine cellar have been altered in pencil.

A mezzanine level is on the east half of the building, over the bedroom suite and Mr Praed's room. It is accessed by the back staircase and has passages overlooking the best staircase on two sides. This floor is occupied by nurseries and has ceilings 7 feet 9 inches high, with windows facing east. The nurseries may have been appropriate, as William and Elizabeth Praed had twenty children, only seven of whom reached maturity (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

The first floor has five bedroom suites and a large ladies' dressing room. Drawing 41 shows Soane's tribune at the centre of the plan: a top-lit elliptical opening that overlooks the ground floor corridor. Surrounding this opening are four arches, with two framing segmental ends that lead to short passages lined with apsidal niches. Pedestals are shown within these four niches, probably for displaying statues. An organ occupies one of the adjoining lobbies. A circular lantern lights the adjacent dressing room.


K. R. Fairclough, ‘Praed, William Mackworth (1747–1833)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed April 2012.



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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 Presentation drawings of a variant design for the house, one dated December 1793 (4)