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Record copies of working drawings, April 1786 (2)

Notes

Soane included the house, entitled 'villa near Hockeril' in his 1788 publication ‘Plans, elevations and sections of buildings’, plate 37. The published design varies from drawings 1 and 2 in the domestic offices and principal staircase, as Soane made alterations to these parts of the building in 1788. The staircase and offices were probably undergoing alterations as the publication was going to print, thus explaining the light wash (usually indicating proposed building work) defining these areas on Soane's publication.

Hockerill was a timber-framed three-bay two-storey house with a front elevation measuring 42 feet 2 inches across. A small aedicule framed the front door, between tripartite windows, each set beneath a blind segmental arch (a variant of a Wyatt window). The simple timber building was covered in a slated hipped roof. Pencil alterations to the elevation (drawing 2) include two additional chimneys.

The ground floor has two principal rooms to either side of the central corridor, each with a front-facing window. The eating room (labelled in the published plan) occupies one end and is lit by a tripartite window on the front elevation and, on the side elevation, a three-bay pedimented window cantilevered on four brackets to project 1 foot 3 inches. The other end of the house has a drawing room and two smaller rooms behind consisting of a dairy and store closet. The dairy is accessed only from the back of the house and is overlooked by a window into the adjoining closet. The office range is attached to the rear of the house via a covered walk. In the published design, this office wing is larger and has a secondary staircase leading to the first floor.

Soane built the house for Ralph Winter, an employee of the Bank of England (P. Dean, Sir John Soane and London, p.23). Soane also surveyed land for Winter and provided him with cottage designs at Whetstone, Barnet. Hockerill house was entirely timber-framed, with rendered walls, plastered interiors and a roof covered with slates. The clients' use for the house remains unclear, as its plans reveal very thin walls but the chimney-pieces suggest occupation in the colder months. The house is labelled as a 'cottage' in drawings 1 and 2 but, more accurately (owing to its moderate size and proximity to the city) it is referred to as a 'villa' in Soane's 1788 publication.

Literature

P. Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p. 176; Sir John Soane and London, 2006, p.23, 150.

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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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