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image SM 14/4/4

Reference number

SM 14/4/4


[4] Imaginative reconstruction drawing probably intended for exhibition at the Royal Academy but not used, by J.M.Gandy, 21 February 1800



Signed and dated

  • Febry 21st 1800

Medium and dimensions

Pen, raw umber, burnt umber, sepia, blue, green and pink washes, watercolour technique, shaded on laid paper (632 x 972)


J.M.Gandy (1771-1843)


1794 J Whatman


The Soane Office Day Book for this period shows that J.M.Gandy spent from Tuesday 11 February to Friday 21 February, 1800 (nine and a half working days) on this 'Perspective View of a Mausoleum [for] Mr Soane'. It shows a circular domed temple, with larger than life-size statues including Hope with an anchor and (crowning the dome) the clothed figure of Death the Reaper. The rotunda is bathed in a light that leaves the rusticated chamber under the temple in shadow. In the shadowy doorway, a figure holds a blazing torch - its smoke eddying into the sepulchral chamber. Gigantic fluted and festooned funerary urns encircle the building. Along a winding path, a funeral procession approaches past forest trees and a range of hills fills the background. Above, a strong blue sky with clouds reflects the late afternoon sun. The golden sun-lit monument of Gandy's perspective contrasts with the varied blue tints of sky, hills, trees and grass. The scene is solemn but celebratory. Though large and impressive as well as evocative the drawing was not hung at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1800 (date of the drawing). Instead, some of Gandy's perspectives for other schemes were chosen. There is a reduced copy by C.J.Richardson, dated 1830, 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 25.



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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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