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  • image SM 45/3/6

Reference number

SM 45/3/6


Design in a Roman Doric style on a plan of 55 x 55 feet, made for exhibition at the Royal Academy, 1781


2 Plan showing a Drawing Room of 26 feet diameter, Eating Room, Library and / Dressing room, Hall, Water Closet and Powdering / Room, two staircases and a Loggia or portico in antis. Elevation with a Doric pediment supported on six columns and half-columns that spans the width of the three-bay building, the two windows are almost as wide and tall as the door.


1/9in to 1ft


as above, dimensions given and (added later, red pen) 869

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia, green and burnt sienna washes, pencil, with some watercolour technique, shaded on laid paper stuck down on wove paper to make a 'French' mount (495 x 349 on 635 x 428)






Drawn and inscribed in Soane's youthful hand, the drawing may have been made in 1780 and later carefully mounted and a ruled and wash border added for exhibition at the Royal Academy the following year (Royal Academy 1781, No.524 Plan 'and elevation of a hunting casino'). The lightly penciled-in engaged columns on the flank walls (plan) were probably added then.

The plan of this 'casino' or small villa was conceived by Soane in terms of compass-drawn room plans: circular drawing room, double-apsed eating room, apsidal-ended library, segmental loggia-cum-portico in antis and oval staircase hall contained within an approximately 55 x 55 feet ground plan. The exterior is severe and gives the impression of a single storey building except that, above the terrace, the heads of two basement windows are seen, and above the front door is a small rectangular window.

For a drawing sharing the same palette and exhibited at the Royal Academy at the same time style see: Soane's early works, 1770-1785: Downhill: County Derry, Northern Ireland: mausoleum for Lord George Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol (died 1775) for Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry and 4th Earl of Bristol, 1779.

In Soane's extra-illustrated edition of his Designs for public and private buildings published in 1832, plate XXXIV** closely reproduces the elevation with only glazing bars and door panelling added and the trees re-drawn; the plan is small and less detailed but the same.

The plate is shared with another design: a 'Roman Temple Altered into a Casina Retaining the General Character of the Exterior of the Ancient Edifice'. The second design shown in perspective and by a small plan is a reworking of the first though the building is larger and with, for example, a fenestrated mezzanine storey, and pilasters instead of engaged columns.

The published text accompanying plate XXIV** explains that 'This Design was made from the suggestions of Mr. Pitt, of Boconnoc, afterwards Lord Camelford, and of Mr. Bankes, afterwards Member of Parliament for Corfe Castle, in Dorsetshire'. Thomas Pitt (1739-93) and Henry Bankes (1757-1834) were in Italy at the time that Soane was there. Pitt is noticed in Soane's sketch/notebooks as at: Pompeii 22 January 1779, Salerno 22 February 1779, Naples 15 July 1779 and Genoa 18 May 1780 and 'Mr Bankes, Kingston Hall, Wimborne - Dorset' is also mentioned.

A perspective drawn later by C.J.Richardson is in the V&A Museum see P.du Prey, Sir John Soane, 1985, in series of 'Catalogues of architectural drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum', catalogue 15.


P. du Prey, John Soane’s architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.278-80; P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.270, 275-6



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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