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image Image 1 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10
image Image 2 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10
image Image 3 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10
image Image 4 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10
  • image Image 1 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10
  • image Image 2 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10
  • image Image 3 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10
  • image Image 4 for SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10

Reference number

SM (27) 63/7/34 (28) 63/7/35 (29) 14/4/9 (30) 14/4/10

Purpose

Presentation drawings of variant designs (relating to the final design) for the monument set in various imaginary landscapes, March-April 1816 (4)

Aspect

27 Bird's eye view from the south-west with the gateway still shown. Set in a gentle, wooded landscape with an overcast sky the drawing is not quite finished, for example, the wavy incised line is missing from the segmental pediments of the four-sided aedicule and the serpent from the drum-like terminal of the dome; there are (pencil) alterations to the acroteria 28 Bird's eye view from the south-west with the gateway removed. The monument placed at the head of a wooded valley with a glimpse of a columnar monument among the misty trees 29 Bird's eye view from the south-west that includes a revised design for the gateway, now with a pediment with two angels reclining against a cinerary urn and holding snuffed-out torches. The sky is blue with fluffy white clouds and, in the right middle-ground, is a glimpse of the monument to Jean-Jacques Rousseau at Ermonville. 30 Bird's eye view from the south-east showing the design as executed and without a gateway. Set in a hilly and wooded countryside with, in the distance, a village with its church, perched picturesquely on a hill

Signed and dated

(30 verso, pencil) drawn by G. Basevi / June 4 1816 (by a later curator's hand transcribing a very feint pencil inscription below) From, Mr G Basevi / 4 June 1816. The entry for 4 June 1816 in the office Day Book has nothing relating to Basevi drawing a monument, in fact he was drawing views of Thomas Swinnerton's new house.

Medium and dimensions

(27-28 ) Pen, pencil, green, raw umber, warm sepia and grey washes, shaded, watercolour technique within ruled and black wash border on wove paper (610 x 842, 620 x 856) (29) pen, pencil, green, raw umber, warm sepia, sepia, yellow and blue washes, black ink wash, within black washed border on thick wove paper (710 x 1031) (30) pen, green, raw umber, warm sepia, sepia, blue and red washes within black wash border on wove paper (720 x 1092)

Hand

(27-30) George Basevi (1794-1845, pupil 1810-16)

Watermark

(30) James Whatman Turkey Mill Kent 1809

Notes

In all, Basevi was making drawings for the monument from 14 February to 23 May. The finished perspectives catalogued here would have been made between 4 March and 5 April when many references under Basevi's name appear in the Day Book to 'Birds eye views of Monument' including (26 March) 'Finished birds eye of Mr Soane's Monument' and 5 April 'About drawing of Monument, sent afterwards to the Exhibition'.

Drawings 27 and 28 share the same muddy tones, drawing 29 is the best of the four perspectives and may have additions (black ink wash trees, left-hand side) by J.M. Gandy; drawing 30 is rather bland. Basevi must have benefited from observing Gandy at work and his perspectives show an increasing confidence.

The gateway appears in many drawings (14-20,22, 23, 25 but cancelled, 27 and 29). It does not appear in the last design drawing (30). It's massy weightiness might be said to represent earthly sorrow and contrasts with the lighter, more transcendent design of the four-sided aedicule, the contrast between the two mediated by the stark monolithic dome on piers. Essentially, the scale was wrong, the design placing the emphasis on the vault rather than the monument and, it was unnecessary. Whatever the reason, Soane was reluctant to give up the gateway but eventually did so.

Level

Drawing

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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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