10 feet to 4¼ inches
At bottom left, in pen and brown ink, in an unidentified hand, S.r Christ Wren fe.; and on verso, beneath modern tissue backing, in pencil, in C18-19 hand, Gard, and at top left, in pencil or faint ink, in C17-18 hand, CB.
Signed and dated
Medium and dimensions
Pen and dark brown ink with grey, blue and black washes, over pencil under drawing and incised lines, on thick laid paper, backed with tissue and reinforced with canvas tape on right-hand side of verso. 453 x 670.
Unidentified hand, possibly William Talman
Dovecote, with B heart C at bottom left (from mill of Benoit Colombier; see English Baroque architectural drawings, Introduction; similar to Heawood no. 1228). Same paper source as 1, above.
The design is for a broad, entrance pavilion of one principal storey, an attic, and a mansard roof with small dormer windows. The pavilion is seven bays wide, with a three-bay central pedimented block, the middle bay with a tall arched opening, framed by two pairs of Ionic columns, carrying an entablature, above which are wall piers rising to the lower cornice of the pediment. The walling of the principal floor and the wall piers in the attic are all treated with horizontal channelled stone. The outermost bays have niches with standing female statues, the left one holding an orb in her left hand, the right one a small stick in her right hand. These bays are framed by channelled piers which rest, like the paired Ionic columns of the central block, on continuous plain plinths. Between these bays and the central block are doors with plain architrave frames, concave-sided friezes and simple cornices, surmounted by relief panels, with crudely drawn mythological scenes of uncertain meaning. The left one has a naked male and female figure either side of a tree, with an angel flying in front of the tree and, on the left, a naked male figure standing in front of an arch pier. The right relief depicts the sacrifice of a boar, the creature seemingly lowered from the sky in a basin with a round handle at the side. A semi-clad figure hovers in the sky behind the basin and two similar figures stand partly crouched, left and right, the right one holding a knife, the left one tending a fire beneath the basin.The pediment has a central oval oculus draped by a wreath, the ends of which are held by winged female angels, or victories, each blowing a long trumpet. Large draped female figures of martial appearance are seated on pedestals, as acroteriae, above the outer sides and top of the pediment. Between the pairs of Ionic columns are statues of standing female figures.A scale is marked across the base of the drawing, on the front line of the plan, with divider strokes, in 30 divisions across the right half of the sheet, indicating an overall width of 60 feet. By this scale, the central door is 8 feet wide by 16 feet high and the outer doors are 4½ feet wide by 9 feet high.In architectural style and in drawing technique the drawing can be associated with French design practice in the 1670s and 1680s. The continuous channelled walling and the placing of free-standing columns in front of the wall to carry and entablature and pediment is characteristic of Jules Hardouin-Mansart's domestic architecture from the early 1670s onwards (e.g. the Pavillon du Val, S. Germain, c.1673; the Hôtel de Bellefronds, Versailles, 1670). The use of black wash for the window and door openings and grey wash for the recessed planes of walling is typical of French drawing techniques in the same period. The architect or draughtsman could be English but with knowledge of French practice. The drawing appears to be in the same hand as 1, above, the comparisons being in the figurative drawing. Thus the drawing could be the work of William Talman. The channelled rustication and piers find parallels in many of his designs (e.g. 111/34). The use of black shading for window and door openings is characteristic of all Talman's presentation drawings of country house elevations.
Wren Society, V, pl. 1, bottom
Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation