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image Image 1 for SM volume 42/79 recto and verso
image Image 2 for SM volume 42/79 recto and verso
  • image Image 1 for SM volume 42/79 recto and verso
  • image Image 2 for SM volume 42/79 recto and verso

Reference number

SM volume 42/79 recto and verso


Satirical design by Dance in a Gothic style and (verso) alternative sketch designs


Rough plan and elevation of a semicircular, single-storey building with three drop arches and (verso) rough elevations for addition of a circular, domed tower


(recto, pencil, Dance) Decoration of a Piss house

Medium and dimensions

(recto) Brush and sepia wash on laid secretary paper with three fold marks (329 x 202), (verso) brown pen, hatching


George Dance (1741-1825) (recto & verso)




Dance's satirical design inscribed 'Piss house' shows a semicircle with five alcoves on the inside face; a small extension at the side has a ? two-holer lavatory. Behind the semcircular wall and in the centre is a plunge bath. The design seems to be for a garden building with alcoves for seats (recalling a monks' rere-dorter) and with a bath-house at the rear.Whether the designs on recto and verso are related is uncertain. The alternative elevations for a domed tower show that it was to be attached to an existing building and its purpose is not obvious. Dance sometimes revealed a rather scatological sense of humour. There is, for example, his design for a 'public Privy' with defecating figures (V&A 3436.11, reproduced, plate 18, A.Rowan, Robert Adam, Catalogue of architectural drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, pp.45-6, catalogue 42). On the verso of this V&A drawing there is a freehand elevation of a dome with swags on the drum that relates to the verso of the Soane Museum drawing catalogued above. Thus both versos are for a circular, domed tower while the rectos are satirical and all are in Dance's hand.


J.Lever, Catalogue of the drawings of George Dance the Younger (1741-1825) ... from the collection of Sir John Soane's Museum , 2003, pp. 3643-3651 (catalogue [113])



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

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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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