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image Image 1 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
image Image 2 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
image Image 3 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
image Image 4 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
image Image 5 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
image Image 6 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
image Image 7 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
  • image Image 1 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
  • image Image 2 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
  • image Image 3 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
  • image Image 4 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
  • image Image 5 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
  • image Image 6 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6
  • image Image 7 for SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6

Reference number

SM (1) volume 41/55 recto (2) volume 41/56 recto (3) volume 41/70 verso, (4) 65/3/7 (5) 65/3/6

Purpose

Record copies of alternative designs and of design as executed, one dated 12 August 1785 (5)

Aspect

1 Plan of the Obelisk and elevations of obelisk and of column (alternative designs 1 and 2) 2 Elevation of column (design 3) 3 Plans, elevation, section and details of design 3 4 Plan, elevation and partly drawn (pencil) section of design 3 with some (pencil) setting out lines for perspective 5 Perspective of design 3 but with variations in the treatment of the dosseret, presumably as executed

Scale

(1) bar scale of 1/10 inch to 1 foot (2 ) bar scale of 1/5 inch to 1 foot (3) bar scale of 1/8 inch to 1 foot (4) bar scale of 3/12 inch to 1 foot

Inscribed

1 James Evelyn Esqr 2 Jas Evelyn Esqr , Diamr of the Column 5 feet / The Altar B and the Flame 8 ft 6 In high, some dimensions given and (frieze) SOLI / DEO / GLORIA (Glory to God Alone) 3 Copy sent to Mr Evelyn Augt 12th 1785 with the Estimate , labelled Plan of the Cornice / shewing the Joints of the Stone, Reverse the Bond stones, the Capital to be in / three pieces of Stone / each 4' 6 " Long, One piece in height (twice), Ground Line, dimensions given and labelled No 3 4 (frieze) SOLI / DEO / GLORIA

Signed and dated

(4) 12 August 1785 (see above)

Medium and dimensions

(1) Pen with raw umber and sepia washes on laid paper (244 x 364) (2) pen with raw umber and sepia washes on laid paper (364 x 244) (3) pen on laid paper (364 x 244) (4) pen, pencil, raw umber, sepia and black washes, shaded within single ruled border on laid paper (558 x 441) (5) pen, sepia, green and brown madder washes, shaded on laid paper (510 x 358)

Hand

1-5 John Sanders (pupil, 1 September 1784-1790)

Watermark

(1-3) T French (4) J Whatman and fleur-de-lis above cartouche with bar and below, ornate W (5) J Whatman

Notes

The initial designs were for a plain obelisk, and for an Ionic column on a pedestal. This last crowned by a thyrsus (wand tipped with a pine-cone, usually associated with Bacchus) entwined by two snakes (symbol of Prudence, Minerva). A snake in the form of a circle, with its tail in its mouth (an ouroboros, symbolising Eternity) was used by Soane for design 3. The most familiar symbol embraced by a pair of snakes is the caduceus, with its winged staff (Medicine, Eloquence, Peace).

Designs 1 and 2 were discarded or rejected for design 3, a column with a simple base (clasped by an ouroboros), fluted in its upper two-thirds with a Doric dosseret (detached section of an entablature) supporting a strigilated altar with 'a flame'. Overall, the combined elements were 56 or 57 feet high (see dimensions given on drawings 2 and 3). Drawing 5 shows an improved design for the dosseret: the cornice and abacus made larger and more crisply defined.

The monument cost £268.11.0 (SM Ledger A pp.30-31)

Dorothy Stroud (Sir John Soane, architect, 2nd ed., 1996, p.243) wrote that 'After standing at Felbridge until 1927 the column was sold to Sir Stephen Aitchison of Lemmington Hall, Northumberland. It was then transported, probably by sea, to form a feature in his park where it still stands.' Miss Stroud's typescript list of 'Soane's works' (in the Soane Museum) notes that: ' 2 drawings by Soane for the column, dated Aug. 12 1785 are in the Manuscript Room of the British Museum (Add MS. 3840, f. 3724 and 375)'. The same source states that James Evelyn ' had already rebuilt Felbridge Hall on the site of an older mansion called Heath Hatch. The column was to perpetuate the memory of his parents, Edward and Julia Evelyn.... The base of the column was ... inscribed with [Joseph] Addison's [1712] Hymn of Praise beginning "When all thy mercies, O my God ...". '

In the Soane Museum's collection is a design for an Ionic columnar monument at Colne Park for Philip Hills, 1790 (65/3/5) that re-uses the thrysus with entwined snakes motif shown in the first drawing catalogued here.

Christopher Woodward's typescript catalogue of entries for the Felbridge monument in Soane's Ledger A, Order Book II and Box 12 NB 17 are filed with his SM 'Catalogue of Soane Drawings' (noted August 2011 JL)

Jill Lever, April 2011

Literature

M. Hudson, 'Soane's gratitude in stone', Country Life, 31 August 1978, pp. 592-3; P.du Prey, Sir John Soane, 1985, in series of 'Catalogues of architectural drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum', catalogue 70,71, p.45

Level

Drawing

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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.

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).