- English Baroque Drawings: architecture, sculpture and garden design
The new building on the left side is a five-bay Palladian villa with a rusticated podium, two main storeys and an attic surmounted by a balustrade. It is linked to the main building by a wall with ball finial decoration and a rusticated door. This wall continues on a projecting strip of paper that overlaps the main sheet to join neatly with the left edge of the Queen Anne Court base block.
Above the central arched bays of the two north ranges are groups of figures supporting globes: on the left, Neptune and Britannia with Atlas; on the right two female figures with Atlas. The elevations of the Hall and Chapel are shown with staircase platforms, with steps down each side. These staircase platforms are not shown consistently on drawings from the 1728-35 period. They appear in this form on [12/1], [12/8] and [12/24], and on a pre-1735 plan of Queen Mary's Court at the National Maritime Museum (Wren Society, pl. 30, bottom).
The Hakewill referred to in the pencilled note is a draughtsman. He may have been a forebear of George and Henry Hakewill (born 1771 and 1788), whose father was John Hakewill, a painter and decorator (see Colvin 2008). Ripley's authorship of the note is established from comparison with his hand on [12/9] (SM 109/12*; especially the upper-case 'E'). The drawing requested does not appear to survive. The next drawing, [12/3], is in the same hand as this one and shows the right side of the elevation, but does not include the Queen's House, as requested by Ripley.
Although many features on the drawing point to a date around 1731, the treatment of the colonnade suggests that the main part of the drawing could originate in the 1713-15 period. This has an additional set of columns in front of the entrance to the hall, and an upper order of columns above these, as in the front elevation of Greenwich Hospital published in Campbell's Vitruvius Britannicus (vol. I, 1715, pp. 84-85).
A curious feature of the drawing is the positioning of the Queen's House too high in relation to the front elevation of the hall range (compare a half north elevation in the Courtauld Institute Collections, D.1961.XX.2.5, reprd. Wren Society, VI, p. 93, bottom, where the base of the terrace of the Queen's House is level with the ground in front of the hall). This hypothetical Queen's House has also had all its first-floor windows redesigned. All are now the same. The outer pairs of windows have balustraded stone balconies, like the central one, and the arched head of the central window has been changed to straight. The overall aim was to impose Palladian unformity on the entire north elevation facing the river.
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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