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image SM volume 109/49

Reference number

SM volume 109/49


[6/5] Large-scale working design (unexecuted) for the perron and steps of the north-facing portico of the Great Hall, c.1698-1700, including the door to the basement.


Elevation, with cut-away convention on left and right sides to show the flights of steps


1 foot to 13/20 inches (10 feet to 7 1/10 inches)


In pen and brown ink by Hawksmoor, vertically above keystone of door, Middle Line; and in graphite with a few dimensions, including width of right-hand part of basement from the door architrave to the first return of the basement wall, 18 11.

Signed and dated

  • Undated, but datable in the range 1698-1700

Medium and dimensions

Pen with grey and brown inks (grey for right half of sheet, brown for left half) over graphite under-drawing, with grey wash, and with some additions in graphite; on laid paper, in 3 sheets pasted vertically, with wide overlaps on versos (left sheet, 587 mm; middle sheet, 560 mm; right sheet, 332 mm); 380 X 1340




Left sheet: Strasbourg Lily / 4WR and PVL monogram; Middle sheet: Strasbourg Lily / 4WR / HVD (?); Right sheet: IHS / IVILLEDARY


This design develops the scheme for the perron and steps shown on [6/2] for the Great Hall, save that the low wrought iron balustrades between the pedestals of the columns are not drawn in. The perron was intended to project forward of the basement of the colonnade but was not executed. A perron in this form, with steps rising from both sides, appears on several drawings of the Hospital from c.1728 to c.1735 (see [11/3] and [12/1]). It may have been intended as a viewing platform for parades in the 'Royal Court', between the King Charles II and Queen Anne Buildings. A more richly modelled version of this design appears in a perspective datable soon after 1716 (Bold 2000, fig. 176). The left half of the sheet is an addition to the design on the right half and is in a different ink colour.

In the fabric, access to the colonnade that faces King Charles II Building is from a flight of steps between the line of paired columns and the north wall of the hall. This flight of steps dates soon after 3 September 1713, when Hawksmoor was instructed to 'prepare an Estimate of making the Steps up into the Colonnade at the West and North of the Portico of the great Hall, and finishing the said Colonade, as far as the Hall extends' (Wren Society, VI, p. 68). That these steps are a later alteration to the fabric can be seen from the lack of alignment between their courses of masonry and those of the front wall of the colonnade.


Wren Society, VI, pl. 49



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