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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [5/3] Preliminary design for the plan of the vestibule of the Great Hall at main floor level, showing the piers and columns supporting the dome, and, on the right side of sheet, at right angles, with the top of the pediment in the middle of the sheet, a faint incomplete preliminary sketch for the central pedimented pavilion on the east elevation of 'Queen Anne's Court'
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image SM volume 109/51

Reference number

SM volume 109/51

Purpose

[5/3] Preliminary design for the plan of the vestibule of the Great Hall at main floor level, showing the piers and columns supporting the dome, and, on the right side of sheet, at right angles, with the top of the pediment in the middle of the sheet, a faint incomplete preliminary sketch for the central pedimented pavilion on the east elevation of 'Queen Anne's Court'

Aspect

Half-plan (in fact, horizontal cross-section at mid-floor height), orientated with the front (east) elevation at the base of the sheet, and with internal plan of the cupola of the dome superimposed; sketch: part-elevation

Scale

4 feet to 1 inch; sketch: about 6 feet to 1 inch

Inscribed

In pen and brown ink by Hawksmoor, over the pen shading of an infill of the side aisle, solid; and in graphite across door on right (north) side, E; and in C19 hand at bottom right (top left in album), 51.

Signed and dated

Undated, but datable 1697-98

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink with grey wash over graphite under-drawing, with sketched addition in brown ink; additional sketch design in graphite, on laid paper, with horizontal fold below centre (on axis of sketched pedimented bay); 337 x 393

Hand

Hawksmoor

Verso

Inscribed in ink at bottom left (visible with backlight), 14

Watermark

small fleur-de-lis; countermark: GP

Notes

This drawing is datable to the final stages in the preparation of the design for the Great Hall in the early months of 1698 (although it could date slightly earlier, to late 1697). It may show the scheme for a square base to a dome in gestation, for an infill wall mass has been added in pen shading (marked Solid) between the line of three linked piers and the outer wall. This infill builds up the north-west corner support to a depth that corresponds to that of the north-east corner mass, where a spiral staircase is included in the position of one of the round turrets on the All Souls elevation. Together, these two pier masses would have been capable of supporting a square podium for the dome, like that on the executed drum, and the drum on the model at Greenwich that was completed by January 1699.

Hawksmoor drew a dotted half-circle plan of the dome over the dashed pen lines of its long and transverse axes; and he marked its diagonal axis with a single line in longer dashes, presumably as a guide to the position of the corner pilaster and corner mass. On the completed building the dome rises from a square base with chamfered angles, above which are corner buttresses, edged with columns.

The external east facade has applied three-quarter columns rather than the pilasters that were built, and the north elevation has only a single niched bay on the west side of the door rather than the two niched bays adopted subsequently (see [5/2] and [6/2]).

The incomplete sketch elevation of a three-windowed pedimented pavilion on the right side of the sheet predates the main drawing and appears to be preparatory for the central pavilion of the Queen Anne base wing. A central arched window beneath the pediment is set within an open topped inner pedimented projection and flanked by large scrolls. Below this are three arched windows. The arrangement of the openings is preparatory for the design illustrated in the wooden model completed in January 1699.

Literature

Not in Wren Society

Level

Drawing

Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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.

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