- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
In plan, Dance's early studies pay little attention to the existing structure of Taylor's hall, making no use of existing foundations, mistaking the hall's relation to the Rotunda, and projecting a central plan scheme with projecting semi-circular apses altogether impossible within the existing rectangular footprint. The inscribed wall panel and the dimensions 64.0 and 45.0 do, however, securely identify these studies as for the Bank Stock Office. Similarly the studies of drawing 61 do not take into account the existing foundations.
Some of the studies, particularly the interior perspective and arch details on the recto of drawing 58, resemble Dance drawings for a similar domed space with horseshoe-shaped arched that Jill Lever believes to be studies for a George Washington monument, based on their larger scale, projecting apses, Staffage, and angels in the spandrels (D3/14/34 and D3/14/32, misidentified as being for the Bank Stock Office in M. Richardson, Soane: connoisseur & collector, Soane Gallery exhibition catalogue, 1995, no. 36).
Drawing 59 explores various planning and vaulting schemes. On the recto are studies for a hall with a single, great saucer dome flanked by barrel vaults and surmounted by a wide lantern, with a fireplace along the back wall, scrolled ornamentation in the dome, and floral capitals for the supporting piers (as in drawing 58). Dance also sketched a structural section of the arch and dome junction, and a plan showing lines of parallel counters running in front of the long walls. The plan and sections on the verso depict a triple-domed alternative with barrel-vaulted side-aisles (like one of the perspectives in drawing 58). The verso also contains plans for single-dome and double-dome alternatives. Dance's preference is probably for the monumental single-lantern dome scheme, though recognising that a triple-dome, basilican scheme would provide more light and a more appropriate character; the double-dome scheme represents a compromise.
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).