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  • image SM 45/1/16

Reference number

SM 45/1/16


Final design, 1777


14 X-shaped plan of ground floor, circular plans of principal and upper storey (with cast shadows)


bar scale (marked Feet) of 1/32 in to 1ft


Plans of a Mausoleum, (X-plan) labelled Chapel / 85 feet diameter, Sepulchral Chamber (8 times) measuring 48 feet diamr and 48 feet by 28 feet; (principal storey) labelled Loggio (twice) and 85 feet diameter (upper storey) 85 feet Diamr

Signed and dated

  • John Soane Archt (the 'e' of Soane added later) 1777

Medium and dimensions

Pen, light green, pink and sepia washes, shaded, pencil amendments and additions within double ruled and wash border, pricked for transfer (the pin holes are distinct so this is the original rather than a copy) on laid paper (456 x 666)


Robert Baldwin (fl.1762-c.1804)


J Whatman & fleur-de-lis within crowned cartouche with GR below


The plans are drawn with the illusion of being on paper scrolled at the corners and fixed with a nail at the top. The X-plan has four concave sides with four pyramidal pavilions at each corner. Each concave side is approached by a wide stair, segmental on plan, though there is only one entrance. The first floor is internally circular with an overall plan has two straight sides each with a distyle 'portico in antis' and two longer convex sides, each with eight columns. Soane's pencil amendments include moving the first floor colonnade back and the 'portico in antis' forward, and the semicircular plan of external niches becomes rectangular. The second floor is circular with internal alcoves and external columns reflecting the organisation of the first floor.

Soane exhibited an 'Elevation of a mausoleum, to the memory of James King, Esq.' in the Spring exhibition of the Royal Academy in 1777. Presumably this drawing was intended to be exhibited alongside. It was only from 1784 that Soane decided to add an 'e' to his name. As with other of his early drawings, he has written in an 'e' after 'Soan'.

Other pencil amendments to this plan include widening the entrance and the flanking alcoves. These changes are not shown in the record drawings (Nos 15 and 16) but appear in Gandy's perspectives dated 7 January and 3 December 1799.

Soane's Designs in architecture ..., 'publish'd July 1, 1778', has a part-plan (plate XXXVIII) and an elevation (plate XXXVII) that shows a dome, drum, single principal storey and base with pyramids.
For another plan drawn in the same projected manner see Design for an Academy of Arts, 1776 (SM 45/1/17; online [7].1.
Copies of this drawing are 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 21-23



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.

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).