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Variant designs for the south front, July and August 1789 (2)

Notes

Drawings 2 and 3 have three variant designs for the south front, one shown on the fliers on drawing 2. The existing house is seven-bays on two stories, beneath a hipped roof. Soane's drawings show three variant designs for the Ionic portico. The first design, under the fliers on drawing 2, has a simple pediment, columns measuring 27 feet high and 2 feet 10 inches in diameter at their base, and a straight-flight stair. The second design (on the fliers) has a smaller stair and an alternative pediment supporting three urns. The third design, on drawing 3, resembles drawing 2 with its pedimented portico and straight-flight stair but the design has taller columns (by 3 feet 5½ inches) and a slightly taller pediment, a doorcase surrounded by a semiciricular-headed recess and alternative ground floor windows.

Drawings 2 and 3 show alternative designs for the entrance vestibule. Drawing 3 shows a vestibule with segmental ends, measuring 12 by 18 feet. Drawing 2 is a more complex design having a sequence of paired columns framing the procession from front door to principal staircase.

A photographic view of the house shows an elevation with flat architraves and no aprons beneath the windows. This built design does not resemble drawings 2 or 3 (see Knowsley Arts and Heritage Service and http://history.knowsley.gov.uk).

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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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