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Reference number

SM (21) 1/6/1


Preliminary variant designs for a portico between single columns each set at an oblique angle to the main face, 16 September 1804


21 Front elevations and ground floor plans for three designs; plan and part-elevation of the attic; (verso) two elevations of the podium and door at the front; detail of the bracketed pediment over the door; half-elevation of the attic; (pencil) elevation of the attic; and two details of entablature


to a scale


attic labelled (Soane): Cornice, Blocking and dimensions given and calculations; (verso, pencil) 7th Chap: / 2d Vol and dimension of door

Signed and dated

  • At Margate / Sepr 16: 1804, Sep:16:1804






Drawing 21 was made in September 1804, more than a year after the previous designs for the north-west corner. The triumphal arch has been exchanged for a portico. The designs were made by Soane during his brief holiday in Margate in September 1804. He left London on Friday the 14th in the Margate coach, arriving at 7:30, and returned on the 18th. Mrs Soane spent her summer holidays in Margate, accompanied by a man and maidservant and usually a friend, as well as her sons John and George (S. Palmer, p.73). Soane would usually join his family for a few days. While in Margate in September 1804, Soane dined with John Braham and Nancy Storace on Sunday the 16th and Mr Peacock, George Dance's old assistant, on Monday the 17th.

The left-hand side of the drawing has an elevation and plans for a four-columned portico with additional single columns set at an angle to the main face on both sides. Columns in antis are aligned behind the middle two columns to frame a recess with a door at the back. A podium with curved corners is added to the plan. The attic (in plan, elevation and part-elevation) has a pedestal framed by fluted pilasters and supporting a plinth crowned with a domed cap. The attic design is similar to those made in February 1803 (drawings 6 to 8, for example) but the fluted pilasters project laterally and the panelled pedestal is unornamented. The attic surmounts a plinth and a level of Blocking, as inscribed on the drawing (probably referring to a blocking course). The rough part-elevation shows couchant lion statues on the plinths. The dimensions and calculations on the drawing are mainly concerned with the portico's columniation.

The column shafts measure 2'6¼ in diameter at their bases; the same diameter as those shown in George Dance's measurements for the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli. The actual measurement of the temple's columns, as measured in the 1980s, is 1 inch different (M. Richardson, p.130), suggesting that Soane referred to Dance's measurements when designing his 'Tivoli' columns. As with the rest of the order on the screen wall, the capitals are also derived from the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli. Unlike the Temple of Vesta (or Dance's measurements thereof), the intercolumniation is 8 feet. Soane employed the Temple of Vesta's intercolumniation of 7'43/8 in later designs (see drawings 32 to 34).

The small elevation and plan at the upper right hand side of drawing 21 recto is for a similar portico design with a different attic. A pedestal spanning the width of the portico is flanked by unornamented pilasters and surmounted by a plinth supporting a domed cap. The plan shows apsidal rooms inside the building, as in earlier designs (for example drawings 5 to 13). A curving rail encloses the corner.

In the pencil elevation and plan on the lower right hand side of drawing 21, a screen of six columns are arranged on a concave segmental plan, the four middle columns having columns immediately behind them. The elevation consists of an attic of five bays separated by pilasters that are aligned above the Corinthian order. A pedestal crowns the central bay. The elevation suggests that the cella (interior space)is curving as well, with three doors aligned between the columns.

The verso of drawing 21 concerns mainly the podium supporting the four-columned portico, with alternative designs for the ornament. Two of the elevations show a door in the middle capped by a pediment with (Soanean) antefixae (or conventionally acroteria) on three corners. The elevation on the recto shows the door as only about 5'5 tall (equal to the intercolumniation).

The inscription on the verso cites Chapter 7, Volume 2 of an unidentified publication.


S. Palmer, The Soanes at home, 1997, pp. 73-76; M. Richardson, 'John Soane and the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli', Architectural History, vol. 46, 2003, pp. 129-145.



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