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image SM 45/1/14

Reference number

SM 45/1/14


Five-hour design for 'The Door of a Church, dedicated to the Evangelists'


Half-wall plan and elevation of entrance front including door


(feint pencil) bar scale of 1/8 in to 1 ft approximately


Niches for statues inscribed: St Matthew, St Mark, Saint Luke, Saint John, Saint James, Saint / Peter, St Paul

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen, sepia wash, shaded on laid paper (351 x 519)




fleur-de-lis within crowned cartouche with GR below


Soane made this sketch design in an allocated five hours during the week between 25 November and 1 December 1776. The subject was set by the Royal Academy and rather than a doorway, Soane designed a facade with door and included all twelve apostles instead of the four evangelists. As du Prey points out, the source is the end pavilon of Soane's Gold Medal competition design for a Triumphal Bridge (q.v.), a project that occupied him for much of that year and the drawings for which were made outside the walls of the Royal Academy. Hence it was a requirement of the Academy that candidates sit the 'esquisse' or unseen exercise as a condition of entry to the Gold Medal competition. The subject was drawn out of a hat and the Keeper and the Secretary supervised the student or students during the five hours allowed for the exercise. Presumably, the idea was to have some sort of check on whether the student received help with his (Gold Medal) competition entry.

Jill Lever, September 2005


P. du Prey, John Soane’s architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.77-9; P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, p.77



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).