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image SM 11/4/1

Reference number

SM 11/4/1

Purpose

Presentation drawing, dated 7 June 1798

Aspect

56 Interior View of the "Bank Stock Office" at the Bank of England looking toward the North

Inscribed

as above, (wall panels) Pr Cent, L to Z / te----- [illegible] to Annuities, A to K, Long Ann--- [illegible]

Signed and dated

June 7th 1798

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia, blue, burnt umber, yellow ochre and brown madder washes, watercolour technique, within five-ruled sepia and black wash border on laid paper with one fold mark (567 x 940)

Hand

Joseph Michael Gandy (1771-1843) (see Notes below)

Watermark

J Whatman 1794

Notes

This lush watercolour perspective in a horizontal landscape format is by Joseph Michael Gandy (1771-1843) who was an assistant in Soane's office from 1798 to 1801. He then set up his own practice but continued to work as Soane's perspectivist until the latter's death in 1837. This drawing shows the Bank Stock Office in the form it was completed some five years earlier with its central stove, counters and desks, and wall panels including signs on the north wall for the Long Annuities business (not shown in other views).
Gandy's technique emphasises the picturesque play of light and shade and exaggerates the hall's width, monumentalising and opening it up to the beholder's gaze. Staffage and part of the inner ring of counters are omitted to focus attention fully on the architectural setting.
The specific purpose of the image is unclear. It may have been intended for the Royal Academy's annual exhibition, but was not shown. Gandy, according to the Office Day Book, spent a considerable time in the spring and summer of 1798 drawing other perspectives of Soane's Transfer Offices, Rotunda, and new Lothbury (or Stock Office) Court, suggesting that this drawing may have been part of a set made for Soane's own gratification, documenting the work so far at the Bank.
The view compares interestingly with drawing 2, and drawing M39(i) at the Bank of England Museum (views of the preliminary 1791 triple-lantern scheme from a similar position), highlighting the built hall's pronounced centrality and variety of lighting effects.

Literature

D. Abramson, Building the Bank of England: money, architecture, society 1694-1942, 2005, p. 106; M. Richardson & M. Stevens (ed.), John Soane architect: master of space and light, Royal Academy of Arts, 1999, pp. 227-26, cat. 127; E. Schumann-Bacia, John Soane and the Bank of England, 1991, pp. 54-55, ill. 41; J. Summerson, 'Soane: the man and the style', John Soane, 1983, fig. 9, J. Summerson, 'The evolution of Soane's Bank Stock Office in the Bank of England', The unromantic castle, 1990, p. 143, ill. 121; P. Thornton and H. Dorey, A miscellany of objects from Sir John Soane's Museum, 1994, p. 37, fig. 31

Level

Drawing

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).