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Survey plan with proposed alterations, 1789 and copy 1807 (2)


The plans shows that the house has a symmetrical seven-bay front to the north (entrance) and the south (garden), each front having a central door. Some other country houses of this period have a double-pile plan consisting of a rectangular block, two ranges deep, divided by a cross-corridor, with a spine wall carrying the chimneys; Coleshill House in Berkshire was one example. The asymmetrical layout of the east-west interior walls at Fairford and the 'Vacuum' in the the west side are puzzling.

Kip's engraved aerial view of c. 1710 shows a two-storey house with a dormer-windowed attic; the offices are to the west of the house. Recent research by Mr C. Hobson shows that the offices as built were 'similar to, but less extensive, than the ones shown in the plan' (email 30.9.13). Soane's alterations to the reception rooms were small ones: chimney-pieces, cornices and bookcases as well as a partition in the hall to make a dressing room and vestibule.

The incomplete plan and elevation in Soane's hand on the verso of drawing 1 seems to be a design for domestic offices within a single block. It is unlikely that this was intended to replace the irregularly laid-out existing offices at Fairford since there is no mention of such work in Soane's office ledgers. This preliminary design may not have been taken any further, or it is for an unidentified scheme.



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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 Survey plan with proposed alterations, 1789 and copy 1807 (2)