- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
In a letter from Lady Bridport dated 14 January 1815, she writes of having recently received drawings showing six alternative designs (Priv. Corr. XIII.H.24). Her letter refers to the same designs as in drawings 2 and 3, favouring the design on the right-hand side of drawing 3 but proposing a panel as in the design on the left-hand side of drawing 3. And yet, as her letter makes clear, she is not completely satisfied with any of the proposals:
'Dear Sir / I receiv'd the Drawings by W / Bawdon, & last week your letter. I / should have written to you sooner on the subject of them, but waited in hopes of / seeing a friend, whose opinion I wish'd. / You do not tell on which of the drawings / you would advise me to choose- No 6 / I think I prefer; only instead of the / ---- (illegible) the Palm branch of No 3.' Lady Bridport notifies Soane that the monument must be inserted in the wall and therefore some small alterations may be necesary. Referring to the designs, she writes: 'They are all rather plain, but [any] one / of them, when executed will, I hope, look well & / handsome, which is what I wish. / I had a drawing sent me (as I believe / I mention'd to Mr[s?] Soane) with many / Naval decorations, these have none - / I mainly notice this for your consideration / I do not find any scale - I think on / paper the pannel (which perhaps I do not / rightly call) of No 4 looks better than No 6....'
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).