Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Early design, possibly made c.1781-4
top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
image SM 13/2/3

Reference number

SM 13/2/3


Early design, possibly made c.1781-4


4 Cross section through domed hall and twin apses


(feint) bar scale 1/8 in to 1 ft

Signed and dated

  • datable to 1781-4 ? (see note below)

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia and pink washes, shaded on laid paper, (later) cloth backed, edges bound with black tape (340x 743)


Undentified Italian draughtsman




This section corresponds with the elevation and plan in Sketches in architecture (plates xxxviii and xxxix), published 1793. Except that here, sculpted female figures are shown around the oculus while the rusticated bases to the pyramids shown in Sketches ... are not present. Taking this section with a copy of the elevation (drawing 7), the starting point for the design was clearly Soane's 'Mausoleum to the Memory of James King' (q.v. and as published in Designs in architecture, 1778, plate xxxvii). That is, a dome (though different in profile), pyramids and terraces but without the ground floor storey and, importantly, on a trefoil rather than an X-plan.

In a poor condition (part of the left hand side has been lost) and yellowed, the drawing was evidently framed and hung at some time - an indication of its importance to Soane. du Prey (op.cit., p.136) considered it as 'apparently the earliest finished Chatham Mausoleum drawing to survive'. If it was one of the three drawings for a mausoleum exhibited by Soane at the Royal Academy in 1781 or the single drawing for the same subject exhibited in 1784, it is odd that none are described in the RA catalogues as a section - a term readily used by Soane for other RA drawings. The section may have been made for exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1781 and not used. Of the three drawings exhibited:plan, elevation and 'design' (perspective ?) none have survived. Nor the designs for a mausoleum exhibited in 1784 or in 1792. The only extant RA drawing for a mausoleum, was hung in 1799 (see drawing 15).Professor du Prey (in conversation, February 2009) attributes this drawing to an Italian draughtsman.


P.du Prey, John Soane’s architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.136-8



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).