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image SM 45/1/34

Reference number

SM 45/1/34


Revised design, closely following one of Dance's suggested designs, for the Parma Academy but not submitted, 1779 or 1780


7 Plan of bridge with 7 arches following the simpler design suggested on the left-hand side of drawing 6a, and (added in pencil) alternative revisions to the entrances


bar scale of 1/32 in to 1 ft (approximately)


see below

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia, light blue, raw umber, pink and green washes, some pricking through, within triple ruled and wash border on laid paper (613 x 941)




footed P (Heawood 3020, 3021) see note below


The Italian watermark suggests that the plan was indeed made in Italy. It is, for example, found on four of Soane's measured drawings of Italian buildings. Despite the note on the drawing inscribed by an early curator - Plan of a Design for a Triumphant Bridge / The original Drawings of this design were presented to La Ducale Parmense Accademia delle Belle Arte 1779 - it was not necessarily this design based on Dance's simpler plan (shown on drawing 6a LHS) but the more complex one that was adopted and submitted by Soane to the Parma Academy. Or so it seems from the inscription on the original frame of a perspective exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1799 which reads 'View of a design for a triumphal bridge made from / the original drawings presented to la Ducale Parmense Accademia delle Belle Arti MDCCLXXIX' see drawing 14).A pricked-through line from the centre of one end of the drawing catalogued here indicates that Soane may have proposed making a perspective. A perspective by Gandy made in 1799 (drawing 17) from a low viewpoint, records an elevational treatment not found in any other of the triumphal bridge drawings; it relates very closely to this plan and between them, the two drawings (7 and 17) represent the better of the two Doric Triumphal Bridge designs. Soane submitted his design for a triumphal bridge to the Parma Academy on 9 May 1780 (those drawings are now missing). A diploma of honorary membership dated '13 Marzo 1781' (SM Priv.Corr. XIV.A.4) is in the Soane Museum and the Downhill note/sketchbook (SM volume 80, p.44 verso, q.v.) dated April 1780 lists letters to be written headed by 'Il conte di Torre di Rezzonico`a Parma' - Carlo Gastone della Torre di Rezzonico, secretary of the Parma Academy.


P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.187-8, fn.28, p.365



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.

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).