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image SM volume 111/49

Reference number

SM volume 111/49

Purpose

Design presenting alternatives for the (west) entrance front of the house

Aspect

Elevation, with alternatives left and right

Scale

Just over 10 feet to 1 9/32 inches (32.5 mm)

Signed and dated

24 August 1723

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over pencil under drawing; on thin laid paper, 187 x 307, with an additional sheet, 46 x 94, joined, with sealing wax and glue, at top centre for a revision to the finial of the roof pavilion.

Hand

William Dickinson

Watermark

Lions supporting crest with a vertical band of three crosses, surmounted by a crown (see Heawood, no. 398)

Notes

The design presents alternative for the building, the left one derived from Campbell's elevation (then in Dickinson's possession, hence its survival with this drawing), and the right one his own treatment. He used the same technique when representing a bay of his design for the Westminster Dormitory alongside a bay from Lord Burlington's design (see Geraghty, The Architectural Drawings of Sir Christopher Wren, 2007, no. 380). Dickinson's proposal is for a lower but longer building of two equal storeys with a central applied portico with a recessed upper loggia. This would have offered views towards St James's Park. A broader prospect of both the river and the park would have been obtained from the octagonal roof-top pavilion, a feature that Dickinson develops in his final design (3). The drawing shows, in dotted outline, a separate pyramid-roofed bay to the right of the portico. This may denote a bay on the river elevation at the back of the house or an alternative treatment for the roofing of this intermediate bay. Dickinson marks the depth of floor beams on the right-hand side, a convention he also used on a drawing for the tower of St Michael Cornhill in 1716 (Wren Society, vol. X, pl. 9), and on designs for unidentified houses in the Bodleian Library (Gough Maps 23, No. 42). In this case, the floor levels may indicate that the building was to be connected with another on the site (see below, 3). A separate sheet has been attached at the top for a revised finial, which was adopted in the next design.

Literature

Wren Society, XVII, pl. 48, bottom; S. Brindle, 'Pembroke House, Whitehall', The Georgian Group Journal, vol. VIII, 1998, p. 90, fig. 5.

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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