- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
Christopher Woodward suggests in Buildings in progress that drawing 66 'is the most precise depiction of the innovative fireproof construction which Soane had first employed at the Bank Stock Office in 1792. The ribs of the vaults are of brick or stone. The spaces in between are filled with hollow terracotta pots, chosen for their lightness and their resistance to fire.'
As shown, the terracotta pots were square and closed at one end though basically circular in cross-section, with one domical end containing an opening. As the notes for the Consols Transfer Office (drawings 10-16) q.v. indicate, this was an ancient technique that was rediscovered at the end of the eighteenth century and (used in the Consols Transfer Office) was the first time such construction had been employed in an English public building. The structural use of pots was developed by William Strutt (a mill-owner and engineer).
Drawing 66 also shows a temporary roof structure still in place, though the ring-beam for the central lantern has been added underneath. The temporary roof seems to be high enough that the lantern could be built completely under its shelter.
Drawing 67 shows the construction technique of drawings 65 and 66 in section and corresponds to the section shown in drawing 68.
Woodward (p.237) also draws attention to the fact that drawing 66 was made on a Tuesday. The following Friday, the assembly of the framing of the dome began.
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).