- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
Drawing 42 shows a rough sketch of a set of piers in mid-construction. The inner arches are not yet formed and the piers themselves only reach half their eventual height.
Drawing 44 shows the south-east Transfer Office with a set of piers (centre) at same stage of construction as those shown in drawing 42. Another set of piers is just visible in the corner. Blocks of masonry lie ready to be used for the upper piers and arches. Scaffolding is shown, as well as a temporary roof, necessary after the destruction of Taylor's ceiling. Drawing 45 shows the construction of piers at a similar stage again - a set of piers is shown on the left with figures working on their construction. A dozen workmen are shown amongst the scaffolding and the temporary roof is evident. Drawing 46 shows a different set of piers, both adjacent to walls, at the end of the aisle.
Drawings 44 and 45 both show a 'windlass' (covered by a cloth in the background of drawing 44 and in use in drawing 45). A windlass was a machine used for lifting heavy weights. It was typically comprised of a cylindrical barrel with a winch attached, rotated by the turn of a crank.
Drawing 47 gives a perspective of the side-aisle construction at a later stage, nearing completion. Not only has the main central set of piers been completed but the springing points for the vault are shown in place and the inner arch has also been constructed (with the wooden centering still in place, which would be knocked out when the whole structure was complete). On the left side of the drawing a windlass is shown being operated by two figures. In the foreground, there is a voussoir (one of a series of radiating wedge-shaped stones or bricks used to form an arch).
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).