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image SM volume 111/17

Reference number

SM volume 111/17

Purpose

Finished design for the south (entrance) front of the house, with amendments

Aspect

2 Elevation, above plan of the front wall and steps

Scale

10 feet to 1 ½ inches (just over) (10 feet to 38.5 mm)

Inscribed

In pen and brown ink at bottom centre (by Gibbs?), Wimpole; and at bottom right (also Gibbs?), Wimpole; and in pencil below the latter in a C19-20 hand (Arthur Bolton's?), by Guibert; and in pencil by Gibbs with dimensions around the centre of the elevation and plan, including 16 ft 5 in ½ above the central window; and on verso, in pencil in C19-20 hands, vertically, on right side, Plans of Wimpole (by Soane?), and in right-centre, Gard.

Signed and dated

1721

Medium and dimensions

Pen and grey ink with grey wash over fine pencil with alterations and additions in pencil, and with black ink ruled border; on two joined sheets of thick laid paper, 423 x 832

Hand

James Gibbs

Watermark

Strasbourg bend (twice) = IV

Notes

This elevation, and the accompanying design for the north (rear) elevation of Wimpole, at 3 (111/18), are Gibbs's earliest known designs for the fronts of the building. He gave most attention to the entrance front, producing three designs in all. The pencil amendments on this elevation relate to the two variant designs for the entrance front in the National Trust's collections at Wimpole (Adshead, cat. 9). There are no variants for the rear elevation design.The pencil-sketched alterations to the plan and elevation on this drawing are: (1) bringing the line of the central portion of the wall of the main block forward, flush with the walls of the end pavilions; (2) changing the single central first-floor window to a three-light Venetian window; (3) reducing the height of the chimney stack; (4) adding a single bay with a ground-floor arch to the right-hand (east) wing, presumably set back from the main front; (5) widening the splay of the front steps; (6), adding four narrow walls being the central wall piers either side of the main entrance; and (7) raising two chimney stacks above the left-hand wing. Of these proposed changes (1), (3) and (4) were incorporated in the two alternatives designs at Wimpole. The upper of the alternatives has the continuous flat front sketched in pencil on this plan. On both alternatives Gibbs experimented with raising the wings by an attic storey.

Literature

Wren Society, XVII, pp. 9-11 and pl. 16; T. Friedman, James Gibbs, 1984, p. 114, pl. 111; D. Adshead, Wimpole, 2007; cat. 9, pp. 9-10.

Level

Drawing

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.

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