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  • image SM volume 42/175

Reference number

SM volume 42/175


Study for lantern dome, lunettes and cross-vaults scheme, 11 December 1791


68 Rough upward interior perspective and elevations of segmental arches with semi-circular window above


Crude / immature hints, (pencil) Bank Stock Office

Signed and dated

  • (pencil, Soane) Recd at Barnet / Decr 11 1791

Medium and dimensions

Brown pen, hatching on laid secretary paper with two fold marks (201 x 321)


George Dance (1741-1825)


Britannia with spear, shield and olive branch in crowned roundel and a bell below


The perspective is closely related to the four-bay, clerestory lunette design in drawings 64-67, but with one crucial difference. Dance here inserts a lantern dome between the cross-vaults, thus adumbrating the hall's eventual design (except for the clerestory lunettes beneath the lantern dome and the fourth barrel-vauled bay at the north end).
The perspective shows how the thin segmental arches surmounted by semicircular lunettes create a vaulted space reminiscent of a Roman bath or basilica reflected with the structural lightness of Gothic architecture.
At the bottom of the drawing are four studies, inscribed Crude immature hints, for decorating the segmental arches beneath the semi-circular clerestory fan-lights. The shape of these arches and fan-lights resembles the preliminary study in drawing 7. The leftmost sketch shows the rosette and panel combination eventually used for the built hall's soffits.
Summerson compares the drawing with Dance's design for the library of Lansdowne House, London, with its 'exactly comparable' design in which there are lunette windows over segmental arches.


J. Lever, Catalogue of the drawings of George Dance the Younger (1741-1825) ... from the collection of Sir John Soane's Museum, 2003, p. 353; E. Schumann-Bacia, John Soane and the Bank of England, 1991, p. 52, ill. 37; J. Summerson, 'Soane: the man and the style', John Soane, 1983, pp. 11-13, fig. 6; J. Summerson, 'The evolution of Soane's Bank Stock Office in the Bank of England', The unromantic castle, 1990, pp. 148-149, ill. 128



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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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