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image SM, volume 110/61

Reference number

SM, volume 110/61


[7] Large-scale detail of the main entablature for the east (park) front


Elevation and section combined


3 inches to 1 foot


By Hawksmoor in ink at top, The Entablature for the Front / next ye Parke.; vertically, against left cornice, frieze and architrave profiles, 2 – 6, 1 – 5, 1 – 10, vertically in centre, Entablature – 5fot -- 7 , 28’ Cornice, 19’. Freise, 20’. – Architrave; vertically right top, 2 fot facia round ye / building; hoirzontally right centre, The subplinth – 9’ ½ / Pillar – 25 – 3 [changed from 5] / Ent – 5 – 7 / 31 – 7 ½ [changed from 9 ½] / from ye upper side of ye lower / facia – 3 – 2 ½ / Great Story up to ye 2 fot facia – 26 – 1 / facia – 2 – 0 / More above ye Gt fa[c]ia – - 4 / 31 – 7 ½; horizontally below scale bar, The Great Entablature for the Front next / The Parke. –; and in graphite to right of scale bar: 18 / 14

Signed and dated

  • Undated, but datable 1689-90

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over graphite under-drawing, and faint incised lines; on laid paper, laid down; with heavy pinkish-brown staining in bottom 60-100 mm of sheet (originally at top), and blotches extending nearly to middle of sheet; severe corrosion and cracking of paper at bottom right-hand side, the sheet apparently strengthened on the verso with a thin pasted sheet, 70 x 250 mm; small repairs to tears on verso at top and bottom; 479 x 333




Inscribed on verso at top centre, in ink, in an early hand: 42; and in centre, in graphite, probably in Hawksmoor's hand, 6 lines of feet-and-inch dimensions, only partly legible, but totalling 45 - 0 feet. The lower part of the sheet appears to be stained on the back in a light grey colour, extending about 150 mm from bottom


Strasbourg Lily / 4WR / AJ; intermediate floret of crown as bunch of grapes. Countermark: JJ


Hawksmoor began this detailed drawing with the entablature profile on the left side of the sheet. Its dimensions are marked vertically along the left edge. He struck this version through and drew a revised cornice in heavier pen near the centre of the sheet with more elaborate titles and new dimensions (written vertically and partly over his original title in the bottom centre). The revised entablature is lower by 2 inches and has a taller frieze and lower architrave. The taller frieze may have been intended for an inscription although none was added on the built elevation.
The revised dimensions are those drawn and inscribed on the large-scale design for the centre of the east front, 4, above (110/12). The dimensions of the deleted profile are those written in graphite on the left-hand pilaster of this design and tabulated in pen in its top right-hand corner. It would seem that Hawksmoor and Wren were simultaneously revising the elevation as a whole and the details of its entablature. The process continued on this drawing, for the inscription on the right shows that the column height was initially intended to be two inches higher, at 25 feet 5 inches.
While the relative heights of column and entablature were in a state of flux, one element in the overall height of the elevation stayed relatively constant. This the 31 feet 7 ½ inches from the upper side of the lower facia at the top of the ground floor to the top of the main fascia at cornice level. This dimension is roughly the main storey height, including mezzanines and the depth of the upper floor beams. It is an increase of more than a foot on the 30 feet 3 inches marked for the equivalent height on the left side of Hawksmoor’s finished elevation of the south front (1, above, 110/8), and the accompanying large-scale design for the central portion (2, above; 110/15). The Privy Garden range must therefore have been amended after these revisions to the Park elevation.
The sheet is the largest single sheet in the volume and appears not to have been trimmed except on the right-hand side. This edge of the sheet was originally within the gutter of the volume (i.e. the inner edge, next to the binding). In the re-ordering of the volume, before Dance wrote his collector's marks, the sheet was turned through 180 degrees.


Wren Society, IV, pl. 19, top



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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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