- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
Although generally symmetrical, the eastern projecting wing shows blind arches on the ground and first storeys, rather than arched windows as on the western wing. The reason for this is made apparent when looking at the plan (drawing 112) which shows a chimney flue as part of the southern wall. This was originally part of Yarborough House and as Godfrey says, was retained along with the majority of the structure for the west wing. Soane could not add windows to the west wing because the chimney flue made the wall structure too insecure for large arches. Blind arches were therefore added to create visual symmetry. The old structure, as has already been mentioned, did not have any windows on that facade because it looked on to the Hospital's bleaching grounds.
The late dates inscribed on this group of drawings suggest that these were intended for Soane's records. Drawings 110 and 112 indicate a fictional setting, particularly drawing 110 which shows hills and a river in the background - neither show the clusters of Wren (or other) service buildings surrounding the Infirmary.
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).