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image SM (4) 10/5/10

Reference number

SM (4) 10/5/10


Design showing library with a lantern over the central bay, 22 November 1797


4 Transverse section looking east of the Library and part-section looking east of the Consols Transfer Office


bar scale


4 Library, The Latitudinal Section, The Bank of England, and dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • (4) Lincolns Inn Fields / Novr 22 1797


Soane office


Drawing 4 shows a three storey building of three bays, with a lantern surmounting the middle bay. The basement is not shown. The narrow central bay serves partly as an internal light well, with, at each leve, an opening in the floor to permit light to penetrate the storey below. The north and east sides of the library faced the window-less screen wall on Bartholomew and Lothbury Street, necessitating the inclusion of top lighting. A narrow circulation corridor and railing encircles each opening, facilitating movement between the archived ledgers and documents. Semicircular barrel vaults flank the central space on the top floor and the bottom two floors are shown with segmental arched ceilings, presumably cross-vaults. The section shows windows at an angle in the south, suggesting that this design is not for a rectilinear building.



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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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