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image Image 1 for SM volume 42/86, SM volume 42/88
image Image 2 for SM volume 42/86, SM volume 42/88
  • image Image 1 for SM volume 42/86, SM volume 42/88
  • image Image 2 for SM volume 42/86, SM volume 42/88

Reference number

SM volume 42/86, SM volume 42/88


Early rough designs for entrance front, attributed to George Dance (2)


4 Rough perspective showing a three-storey concave front with a tunnel-like entrance flanked by niches with, above, first and second floors fronted by columns
5 Rough perspective showing a two-storey concave front with semicircular entrance and flanking niches with, above, a single storey with large and tall openings framed by Greek Doric columns and housing sculpture

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, hatching; pen, wash, hatching on laid secretary paper (230 x 185, 229 x 184)


(4) previously attributed to John Flaxman, re-attributed to George Dance (1741-1825); (5) George Dance (1741-1825)


presently stuck down and not visible


Both designs show the central part of a gigantic mausoleum on a segmental plan with a deep, round-arched entrance approached by a long and wide flight of stairs. The walls and openings are decorated with huge urns and sculpture that dwarf the tiny mourners. Interestingly drawing 4 shows two colonnaded storeys of equal height above a base, that is, a three-storey building with presumably dome and drum. Soane's final designs are for a three-storey mausoleum. Drawing 5 has striking bracketed pedestals for sculpture and Greek Doric is used for both designs. du Prey attributed drawing 4 to John Flaxman but here it has been re-attributed to George Dance; drawing 5 is by the same hand. The stylish skeleton figures of Death, and of Winged Victory, as well as the draughtsmanship and the dramatic expressiveness of the design do suggest George Dance. In any case, the hand is certainly not Soane's for as Margaret Richardson (February 2008) commented: 'the sketches are very three-dimensional (which Soane's tend not to be)'.


P. du Prey, John Soane’s architectural education 1753-80, 1977, p.98; P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, p.345 fn.43 (No.4)



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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