Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Competition design for a women's prison, 1781 (2)
top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
image Image 1 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18
image Image 2 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18
image Image 3 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18
image Image 4 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18
  • image Image 1 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18
  • image Image 2 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18
  • image Image 3 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18
  • image Image 4 for SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18

Reference number

SM (3) 13/1/17 (4) 13/1/18


Competition design for a women's prison, 1781 (2)


3 Elevation of a side of one of the great Courts, and Sections shewing the several Stories of the Cells, Arcades &c
4 Section through one of the great Courts shewing the Working Rooms, the Arcades / forming the communications on each Story, the Sheds &c


1/8 in to 1 ft


as above, N0 4 and N0 5 respectively

Signed and dated

  • badly-nested tags: br

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia wash, shaded within quadruple ruled and wash border on laid paper (373 x 956, 372 x 941)


(both) Robert Baldwin (fl. 1762-c.1804)


These drawings are two from a set of (probably) seven competition drawings. Drawn by Baldwin, it is possible that the design was largely Soane's. Professor du Prey (in conversation, February 2009) drew attention to Dance's letter to Soane of 16 April 1782 in which he sympathetically enquires 'how it fares with you - above all things "dans ce malheureux monde," remember the motto to your design for the Women and forget the whole of the decision about these things (wch I hear will never be built) as soon as you can.' (quoted from A.T.Bolton, Portrait of Sir John Soane, R.A. ... set forth in letters from his friends, 1927, p.45). The mention of your design for the women's prison might suggest a clue to authorship.


P.du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, chapter 10, 'The Competition for the first Howardian penitentiaries'



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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).