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image SM volume 74/34

Reference number

SM volume 74/34


Design for hypocaust heating system


45 Plan of the Line CD to the 4 Sections and D Plan of Revolutions for Warm Air and Smoke etc.


bar scale of 1/3 inch to 1 foot


as above, Bank Stock Office, dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • datable to 1792

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia, yellow ochre, blue, burnt sienna and red washes on wove paper with two fold marks (508 x 640)


attributed to William Lodder (assistant 1789-?) or Charles Ebdon (assistant 1791-1792)


The drawing shows a hypocaust system for heating the hall, in which a central cellar firebox feeds hot air into a stove above and also through a system of winding ducts beneath the flooring (in red and blue wash), with the hot air and smoke being vented up flues set behind a fireplace in the north wall. The ducts beneath the flooring can also be seen in the section drawings 17 and 22.
The hypocaust system plan is keyed to the set of drawings showing the hall as executed (drawings 17-18, 22 and 28-29), belying Todd Willmert's assumption that the system was unrealised.
The ducts of the hypocaust system are concentrated in the central, public area of the hall, providing under-floor heating to the perimeter workspace of the Bank's tellers and clerks.
The drawing also very effectively represents the floor's timber framing and cellar foundations (in burnt sienna and yellow ochre washes).


T. Willmert, 'Heating methods and their impact on Soane's work: Lincoln's Inn Fields and Dulwich Picture Gallery', Journal of Society of Architectural Historians, 52/1, March 1993, p. 31, fig. 4



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.

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