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Finished drawing for the garden (south) front of the house, executed with alterations, 1771 (1)

Notes

The south front at Stowe was executed to an altered version of this design by Thomas Pitt in 1772-77. Pitt's deviations from Adam's design reduced the movement and flamboyance of the façade, and include: pavilions raised to the height of the central block; Ionic and Corinthian elements of a uniform size; Venetian windows replaced with flat-topped tripartite windows; the hipped roof flatted and hidden by the parapet; the basement arcade replaced with an external staircase; and ornamental changes such as the application of banded rustication to the basement; the inclusion of an unbroken window entablature; a parapet of sculpted panels rather than a continuous balustrade; and statues omitted from the roof.

In conversation Professor Rowan has suggested that prior to the production of this drawing Earl Temple had shown Adam Giovanni Battista Borra's design for the previous south front of the house - either in a drawing, or in G. Bickham's The Beauties of Stowe (1753) - as there are notable similarities between the two schemes.

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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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