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Purpose

Design for addition of of pavilion wings, 1779-80 (1)

Notes

Since the drawing is inscribed 'Earl of Bristol' it was made after December 1779 when the Bishop of Derry succeeded to the earldom but probably before Soane was at Downhill in July-September 1780.

The plan shows the existing main body of the house with three reception rooms facing south: the eating room and drawing room with projecting canted bays either side of the library. Behind, runs an east-west corridor with a semicircular projection in the centre, containing the stair and the (north) entrance. The route to this entrance is through a large, asymmetrically arranged courtyard via a gateway on the western side flanked by quadrant walls concealing a 'dust hole' and two latrines. There is a service wing on the north-east side with quarters for the butler, housekeeper and steward and a corridor leading to the kitchen; on the north-west side is a large dressing room with a bow. Soane's 'intended Eating Room' to the south-west corresponds more or less with drawing 3. The drawing room to the south-east has a semi-elliptical plan based on that of the supposed 'triclinium' of Lucullus drawn by Soane in his Italian sketchbook (volume 164/6-7, q.v.) and is a variant of the design (though sited on the south-west side) in another of Soane's Italian sketchbook (volume 39/86 verso and see drawing 4).

Literature

P. du Prey, 'Je n'oublieray jamais: John Soane and Downhill', Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society, XXI Nos 3&4, 1978, pp.20-4

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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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