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image Image 1 for SM (69) 12/3/1 (70) 12/3/15
image Image 2 for SM (69) 12/3/1 (70) 12/3/15
  • image Image 1 for SM (69) 12/3/1 (70) 12/3/15
  • image Image 2 for SM (69) 12/3/1 (70) 12/3/15

Reference number

SM (69) 12/3/1 (70) 12/3/15


Record drawings showing variant designs for the Bullion Arch, April 1799 (2)


69 Perspective looking south showing colonnades on the east and west sides and a triumphal arch motif on the south side consisting of a semicircular-headed entrance flanked on either side by raised twin Corinthian columns, each supporting a figurative statue; on both sides of the entrance, between the columns, is a caduceus motif and niche; the walls bearing the columns on the south and west sides are decorated with a fret pattern; antefixes adorn the roof line of both east and west elevations; a wide staircase ascends to the colonnade on the east side and three steps descend to the west side, leading to two arched entrances through the wall beneath the columns 70 Perspective as in drawing 69


69 (Bailey) The Bank of England, View of a design for the "Lothbury Court"

Signed and dated

  • (69) April 16th 1799 (70) April 26th 1799


Soane office


The Bullion Arch was clearly modeled on the Arch of Constantine in Rome (315 AD), with its figurative statues sitatuated above each column and the Coade Stone roundels carved by Thomas Bank (showing 'Night' and 'Morning' as in the original Arch). Soane lectured that the real achievement of the Arch of Constantine lay in its sculptural work, stating in Lecture IV for the Royal Academy: 'the chief beauties of the Arch of Constantine are derived from the spoils of Trajan's Forum which was plundered of its sculpture to enrich it'. The Arch of Constantine relied on the fine craftsmanship of an earlier era for its sculptures 'to supply that which the wretched artists of his day were unable to perform'. The figurative statues on the Bullion Arch were therefore a significant inclusion. He had attempted to use similar sculptures over the gate on Lothbury Street in 1796 (see drawings 12 to 18 in scheme 2:5) but these were omitted in favour of a more understated decoration (and perhaps the influence of George Dance, see drawing 28 in 2:5).


D. Watkin Sir John Soane; Enlightenment Thought and the Royal Academy Lectures, University of Cambridge, 1996, pp. 533-551.



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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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