- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
The drawing differs from the other column-flue schemes in drawings 5 and 6 in as much as the stove has only a single fireplace, the central arch is semicircular, and the pilasters have been shortened to the springing of the lower arches. Again, none of these ideas were realised; the drawing shows Soane exploring possibilities of proportion and ornamentation.
The primary significance of drawing 8 is the erased segmental side arch, which is replaced with a sketch of a semi-circular arch on the left (as realised). However, most of the sketches, particularly in the margins, explores the structural jointing and plaster finishing of the central arch. Soane wanted to use a bead moulding to disguise the structural joint between the Portland stone soffits and the hollow-cone voussoirs, as he notes in the inscription. In the finished hall, this bead moulding did not appear (though it did in the later Consols Transfer Office), nor did the serpentine spandrel decoration, fluted pendentives, clerestory fan-light, and small oculus sketched in pencil on the left bay. But the high vertical fluting sketched with sepia wash on the left piers was realised.
The lower arch in the crossing also relates this drawing to the preliminary designs for the upper-room scheme, drawings 9-12. But on the left-hand side of the sheet the arch is erased, suggesting that by this date, 18 March 1792, Soane had abandoned the idea.
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).