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Presentation drawings and design drawing for library addition, 4 June 1796 (4)


Drawings 3 to 6 show the new south-east extension, having an entrance porch and library on the ground floor and a bedroom, drawing room and water closet above (Journal 3, p.181). The addition adjoins the 'old library' of the existing house. Drawings 3 to 5 were presented to William Pitt on June 4th 1796 and a design was settled on June 16th.

Drawings 3 to 6 are all dated 4 June, the date of Soane's meeting with William Pitt. It appears that the flier to drawing 3 was added after the drawings were presented and in response to Soane’s consultation with Pitt. Marks in pencil on the plans indicate the communications between the rooms and were probably made as the architect and client discussed the drawings. Drawing 6 is a copy of drawing 3, showing the same design as drawing 3 (except for the flier) and having the same erasure marks on the squared alcoves of the ground-floor bay window.

Drawings 4 and 5 show the interior of the library. The canted bay window has bookcases between the three windows. Facing the windows is a chimney-piece between four round-headed alcoves. The alcoves contain bookcases and a door, with the rounded recesses over each kept as a display for globes and busts. The library has green walls and red window treatments. Drawing 5 includes a tall gilded mirror over the chimney-piece.

Drawings 3 to 5 are in a folder with an estimate (SM 2/9/9a) for the building works as of June 1796: 'The new library, entrance & rooms over, / pulling down part of the old entrance &c / and making good the roof and clearing / away for the new room' is estimated at £950; 'To paint and white wash the whole of the house / (exclusive of offices), to repair the joiners work / and to put the whole into proper repair' is estimated at £200; and 'the portico before the old library' is estimated at £120, totalling £1270. The same total estimate is written by Soane on the verso of drawing 4, with a note that Mr Pitt has given his approval for the plans and estimate.



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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Contents of Presentation drawings and design drawing for library addition, 4 June 1796 (4)