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  • image SM 77/2/25

Reference number

SM 77/2/25


[23] Working drawing for a crane


Plans and elevations of crane used at Chillington


1/3 inch to 1 foot


A Copy of the Crane that raised the Stone to the Portico at Chillington / The Roap work'd 7 fold & with 8 Men at the Capstan raised with ease the largest / Stone, weight 7 Ton - Two Men attended at each bracing rope and labelled: The Base of the Crane the bottom side turn'd / uppermost shewing the method of fixing / it on the Rollers, The Beam at the top of the Crane, The Base fix'd on the Rollers, (another hand) 6 tun weight and some dimensions given including the height of 53.0 and width at the top of 16.0

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia and yellow washes, shaded on laid paper (534 x 748)


pupil see note below


J Whatman, fleur-de-lis within crowned cartouche and below, ornate W


It is not known when this drawing was copied; the hand appears not to be that of the four pupils in the office between 1784 and 1790 (Sanders, McDonnell, Chawner and Laing) nor that of, say, Robert Woodgate, an office clerk from 1788 to 1791 or William Heaton, clerk of works at Chillington 1786-7. The crane and capstan for lifting the stones of the Chillington portico were probably in use by the end of 1786 since, for example, a 'Drawing of Base to Column' was sent on 10 June of that year (Journal 1). The columns of the portico were two-storeys high (28 feet 6 inches) and supported a heavy entablature and pediment. The crane was not necessarily designed within the Soane office, a competent builder or clerk of works may have done so and it would have been made by a carpenter.



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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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