- English Baroque Drawings: architecture, sculpture and garden design
- Undated, but datable c.1711
The drawing is set out on a grid of parallel graphite lines that mark the 9-feet-wide spacings of the paired columns of the front loggia. The plan is for an infirmary building 22 bays long with a front colonnade 18 bays wide. It is a study of intersecting axes, which complement the long and cross axes of the hospital as a whole. In practical terms, this bi-axial configuration results in much unused space. The central east-west axis of the infirmary is marked by a corridor one bay wide which is flanked by cell-like bays on each side, forming a three-bay central axis running across the building and marked on the east side by an applied portico. These cells are doorless and windowless spaces of no obvious function.
The corner turrets on the east elevation mark a long north-south axis extending across the entire length of the hospital. The turrets would have aligned with those attached to the base wings of King Charles and Queen Anne Courts shown on the long west elevation of c.1700, [7/2]. The corridor behind the wards (marked for 'officers' on [7/4]) creates another parallel axis, while the front loggia creates a principal north-south axis parallel to the 'Chapel Court' itself. The pairing of columns back-to-back derives from Bernini's colonnades at St Peter's in Rome of c.1655 and reinforces the duality of the axes of the plan.
A date close to that of the second enlargement scheme of 1711 is suggested by the sketch in graphite drawn on the verso of the sheet. This is an initial study, scaled at 20 feet to 1 inch, for the elevation of the oval court on the right side of [8/3] (scaled at 10 feet to 1 inch). It was prepared from the pencilled construction lines at the bottom of the 20-feet scale half-plan of this scheme, [8/1], which are marked a, B, C, D, E, F, and correspond to the vertical construction lines on this elevation.
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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