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Two variant presentation designs, May 1791 (4)


Drawings 16-17 (as with drawings 9-11) have the offices arranged across the north front and extending forwards on the wings to either side. In both designs the layout of the offices is roughly similar though, for example, a brewhouse is not shown on drawing 16. Of the reception rooms and private apartments, the Great Gallery to the south is maintained in drawings 16 and 17 (and 9-11). The idea of a hot bath and a cold plunge pool appears in drawing 16 but not in 17. The Eating Room, for example, is in the south-east corner of both drawings but the Billiards Room and Library are moved around, and a Breakfast Room appears on drawing 16 but not 17. However, the idea of turning the house back to front with a pair of screen walls either side of a portico on the north side was carried out.

The elevation when compared with earlier designs has now a more conventional four-column Ionic portico without the segmental head or semicirular opening of drawings 9, 12 and 13. The elevation published by Soane (Sketches in architecture ..., 1793) varies from the design catalogued here, the Ionic portico is the same, though decorated with garlands but the end bays that finish the end of each screen wall now have blind arches framed by Ionic columns with, above, sarcophagus-like pedestals supporting urns with garlands.

In Soane's office 'Journal No1' there is an entry under 28 May 1791: 'Mr Soane took with him to Stanmore [Bentley Priory q.v.] No 5 fair drawings, viz. 2 Plans of 2 designs for the Principal floor. 1 do One Pair floor ea. on a sheet of Impl Paper / No. 2 Elevations each on 1/2 a sheet of Imperial Paper, with the proposed additions at Baronsct'. This must refer to the four drawings catalogued here, the fifth - an elevation - has not survived.



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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 Two variant presentation designs, May 1791 (4)