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Working drawing and record copies of working drawings for a music room, September and December 1784 (3)


Drawing 1 for the mouldings, employs decoration such as acanthus for the modillions, beading or pearling (a constant favourite for Soane), egg and dart, and inverted darts between small strigillated flutes. Photographs of the interior of the music room (SM green box files, ex-National Buildings Record) show that these designs for mouldings were executed. The well-used state of drawing 2 for a chimney-piece, with its numerous fold marks and the pricking though of the profile of the reeded jambs, suggest that it was made for the workshop and returned to Soane's office. The design shows a quarter-pilaster motif of reeds bound with bowed ribbons supporting an 'entablature' with strigillated flutes above the reeded jambs, the frieze decorated by a pair of leaf and ribbon festoons and sunk circular bosses with a small raised disc in the centre. Ptolemy Dean's book (op.cit. above) has a photograph of the music room chimney-piece that shows it was executed to the design catalogued here and has survived, though since re-located to a first-floor room of the house. In Soane's Note Book 12, pp.32-33, 36 are three rough drawings made by Soane. The first is a sketch survey plan (made 5 August 1784) of an existing garden building (orangery ?) on a rectangular plan with four windows and a door to the front between four half-columns. The next drawings are designs showing the remodelling of the interior to make a music room, the building now given coffered apsidal ends and coved ceiling. Soane published a section in his Plans, elevations and sections of buildings erected in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, 1788 (in fact, 1789) that corresponds, more or less, with the executed design. SM Abstract of Bills, 1782, pp.24-25; Account Book 1781-86, pp.45-6; Ledger A, p.122 relate to Earsham.


P.du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.13-16,18-19 (reproduces Note Book sketches); D.Stroud, Sir John Soane, architect, 2nd edition, 1996, p.124, plates 64-5; P. Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p.170; N.Pevsner and B.Wilson, Norfolk 2: north-west and south, 2nd ed., 1999, pp.315-16



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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 working drawings for a music room, September and December 1784 (3)