- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
Drawing 63 usefully illustrates an aspect of the building process, namely, a windlass. This is a principal piece of machinery consisting of a system of lever, pulley and ropes for hoisting pieces of masonry. This is more clearly shown in drawing 64.
Drawing 66 shows the walls unplastered and the dome constructed up to the base of the lantern. It exposes the masonry structure of stone, brick and hollow-cone pots; only incombustible materials were employed. In drawing 63 timber is clearly being used in the construction of the Trunk arch, however, this is only a temporary timber framework employed to support the central dome during its construction. When each brick is in place and the mortar has dried, the arch will be self-supporting and the timber centring can be dismantled. Drawing 66 also shows that the base of the piers are tied together with underfloor wrought iron tye-rods for additional support.
Drawing 66 was used as an illustration in Soane's twelfth Royal Academy lecture from the second series about construction on 12 March 1815. However, it was not intended as such but was drawn earlier as a record drawing and then later re-used as a lecture drawing. This assumption is firmly supported by the fact that drawing 66 is dated 29 April 1799 which predates Soane's appointment as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy.
Drawing 63 was actually later copied as a lecture drawing for the Royal Academy lecture in 1815 (SM 11/6/5). It can specifically be dated to after 1811 due to the watermark of the paper. There is another lecture drawing (11/6/4), which was drawn for the purpose. It is a longitudinal section looking south showing the construction of the Consols Transfer Office. It reveals the use of incombustible materials and also the iron strap along the diagonal ridge of the groin-vaulted end-bays (as seen in the plan of drawing 20).
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).