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  • image Image 1 for SM (20) 65/4/17 (21) 65/4/14
  • image Image 2 for SM (20) 65/4/17 (21) 65/4/14
  • image Image 1 for SM (20) 65/4/17 (21) 65/4/14
  • image Image 2 for SM (20) 65/4/17 (21) 65/4/14

Reference number

SM (20) 65/4/17 (21) 65/4/14


Presentation drawings for the Gallery, alternative design No 5 (2)


20 Interior View of Gallery, Design No 5 21 Interior perspective of the Gallery for design No 5


20 as above, No XII, (Soane) Dulwich College, (verso, pencil) Plan with measurements / & perspective elevations of two fronts / Dulwich Gallery for / Mr Britton

Signed and dated

  • (20) (Soane) Lincolns Inn Fields / May 1811 (21) datable to May 1811

Medium and dimensions

(20) Pen and coloured washes, watercolour technique, shaded, partly pricked for transfer, within a nine-ruled pen and black and sepia wash border on wove paper (413 x 325) (21) pen and coloured washes, watercolour technique, shaded, within a seven-ruled pen and sepia and black wash border on wove paper cut to the arch shape of the drawing for the gallery (261 x 275)


Soane office


(20) Ruse and Turners


These interior perspectives are consistent with the plan shown on drawing 19. The top-lighting, five-bay vaulted enfilade and red-painted walls with paintings hung five-deep have the essentials of Soane's final scheme.

The drawings show pendentive domes supporting the glazed lanterns over the gallery spaces, however this was not executed. Flat angled ceilings were actually realised beneath the lanterns, with blank lunettes to give more interest.

Underwood is recorded in the Day Book entry for Monday 1 April as taking the 'dimensions of Sir Bourgeois' pictures', presumably so to plan wall space and the arrangement of paintings within the galleries, as demonstrated in these two alternative interior perspectives.

Nevola wrote that 'it is loosely modelled on the Shakespeare Gallery of 1788-9, designed by George Dance the Younger'. Dance's Gallery had, for example, an enfilade plan with plain round arches and top-lighting. Top-lighting for the Gallery meant light would be more evenly distributed over all the walls and more space would be available for the paintings.
In the plans the top-lighting is refered to as skylights and in the perspectives these appear as glazed lanterns over the gallery rooms.


(20) G. Waterfield, Soane and after: the architecture of Dulwich Picture Gallery, 1987, pp. 32; C. Davies, 'Masters of building: the first independent purpose-built picture gallery: Dulwich Picture Gallery', Architect's Journal, April 1984, p. 53; (20-21) F. Nevola, Soane's favourite subject: the story of Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2000, (20) pp. 30 & 177; (21) pp. 31 & 177



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).