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image SM volume 111/68

Reference number

SM volume 111/68

Purpose

Preparatory design for a gate pier, probably for Hamstead Marshall

Aspect

Elevation

Scale

5 feet to 2 ¾ inches (drawn scale, partly cut off)

Inscribed

In pencil by Pearce (?) with dimensions of inches, vertically, on left, 14, 13, and horizontally above the base of the niche, 9, 6, 2 [feet], 6, 9; and vertically on right edge, near middle, 2, and lower down, adding numbers of feet, 1 / 1 / 2 / 4; and in pen and brown ink with numbers of scale bar, 10, 15 (part cut off)

Signed and dated

c.1673-75

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over pencil under drawing; on laid paper, trimmed down to edges of design, 350 x 106.

Hand

Edward Pearce

Watermark

None visible

Notes

The gate pier measures 6 feet wide on the scale, but the pencil annotations call for a reduction to 4 feet. A calculation down the right-hand edge adds up the numbers 1, 1 and 2, to make 4. These refer to the widths in inches and feet inscribed across the gate pier. The gate pier for Hamstead Marshall recorded in the design in the photograph at the R.C.H.M.E. is about 5 feet wide. It has a foliated panel in the centre instead of a pier mass with a niche, and a taller vase that expands rather than narrows towards the top. This could be an early preparatory design.The scale bar at the bottom extended beyond the left-hand edge of the trimmed sheet. The horizontal pen shading and the loose sketching of fruit and foliage are paralleled in several drawings by Pearce for details of masonry ornaments at St Paul's Cathedral in the late 1670s (see G. Higgott, 'The Revised Design for St Paul's Cathedral: Wren, Hawksmoor and Les Invalides', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 146 (August 2004), p. 537). If not for Hamstead Marshall, then it is likely to be a design for another monumental gate pier in the mid-1670s.

Literature

Wren Society, XVII, pl. 27, bottom

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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