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Working drawing and record copy of design for gate and lodges, 1781 (2)

Notes

Stained and worn, drawing 1 was obviously used on site; its neat economy and generous scale is appealing and was later taken up by the architects of the Arts and Crafts movement. Drawing 2 is by the same hand which is not Soane's. Soane's early notebooks show that he was on the move a great deal of the time, visiting sites and meeting clients and builders. He must have relied on ad hoc help with drawing up his schemes, and it is known that he employed Robert Baldwin (fl.1762-c.1804) for the large elevations of competition and Royal Academy exhibition drawings. However, the drawings catalogued here are not by Baldwin. Soane's office Account Book (1778-1797, p.11) has an item under Hammels: 'Fair drawing of the Lodges 1.1.0' that seems like a payment but to whom is not stated.

Again, Soane's notebook (SNB 6) has an entry for 17 January 1783 that records receiving 10 guineas from Thomas Malton. This was in repayment of a loan made by Soane (Account Book (1778-1797, p.42 that notes another loan of 5 guineas - both promptly repaid). An entry in the office 'Accompt book / from 1781' has an entry (23 March 1785) 'Maltons Perspective 0.15.0' together with the costs of 'Office Pens' and drawing paper. Malton was a student at the Royal Academy at the same time as Soane, and though he exhibited occasional architectural designs he later distinguished himself as a topographical artist. Soane seems to have employed him on an ad hoc basis, for example, Note Book 6 has an entry for 17 January 1783 referring to Thomas Malton being paid 10 guineas for measuring joiners' work in the Borough. Further references occur in Soane's specification for work to 'New Cavendish Street / the Honble Philip Yorke / 1781-3',that includes (at the end) items for the Hamels lodges such as lamps and of some further items for the dairy.

Pierre du Prey (op.cit., pp.251-2) wrote that the gate lodges 'occupied Soane during the winter of 1780/1 ... [and] cost only £400 plus the architect's 5 percent fee and travelling expenses.' The plans owe something to Henry Holland's design for lodge houses for Mr Brand (see Sketchbooks catalogue:' Miscellaneous Sketches 1777', largely by Henry Holland, SM volume 38, 12-13)

Ptolemy Dean (op.cit) notes: "Lodges: Completed in 1782, these are Soane's earliest surviving buildings. A beer cellar was added under one of them in 1786 (SM Ledger A, p.146). Square in plan, both lodges were extended in the nineteenth century, respecting the symmetry of the composition. The original iron gates survive, with rendered piers and cast-iron lamp-holders between them.'

Literature

P.du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.251-2,255-6,258,264,379 fn.24 (references to SM MSS); D.Stroud, Sir John Soane, architect, 2nd ed. 1996, p.119; M.Richardson and M.Stevens (eds) , John Soane architect: master of space and light, 1999, catalogue 38; P.Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p.165

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Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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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