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image SM volume 109, 73

Reference number

SM volume 109, 73

Purpose

[8/10] Preparatory design for a four-stage tower, possibly for Observatory Hill in Greenwich Park, at the end of an extension of the main axis of the hospital into the royal park in the second enlargement scheme

Aspect

Part elevation, drawn in part-perspective view, with quarter-plan above

Scale

About 20 feet to 1 inch

Inscribed

In brown ink in C19 hand at top right, 73.

Signed and dated

Undated, but datable c.1711-13

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over graphite under-drawing; on laid paper, laid down; 297 x 197

Hand

Hawksmoor

Verso

Sketch by Hawksmoor in pen and brown ink for a draped female standing figure, presumably a design for a statue.

Watermark

Pro Patria

Notes

A quarter-plan at the top of the sheet indicates a scheme for a four-stage tower, each stage having a central square peristyle of columns. In the lower two stages are four-column corner projections linked by arches on the diagonal axis to the central peristyle. Further arches on the same diagonal axis link the outer square of columns to an inner square. This consists of a diagonal wall mass with a column attached on each side, making eight columns in all. The diagonal lines of arches from the buttresses to the central core are poorly expressed in perspective, so that the design as a whole resembles a scheme with columns in arches all round. In fact, however, the scheme is for a mostly columnar tower, set on the ground, and built around a framework of arches on the diagonal axes. It is crowned by a large pineapple finial.

If scaled at 20 feet to 1 inch, the columns would be 3 feet in diameter (as in [8/4]) and the tower would be about 160 feet high. In plan it is not far removed from the square structure with extruded square corner bastions and a central four-column structure in the RIBA block plan of the second enlargement scheme (reprd. Hart 2002, fig. 8).

Similarities between this design and the plan of the dome in [8/4, 5 and 6] led Arthur Bolton to speculate that it was intended for the chapel [8/1] and [8/3] (109/64 and 61). The draughtsman T. Raffles Davison reconstructed the tower in this context in Wren Society, VI, p. 86.

On the back of the sheet is a sketch by Hawksmoor in pen and brown ink of a draped female standing figure. It may be a design for a statue on the tower.

Literature

Downes 1979, cat. no. 346 Wren Society, VI, p. 91, left

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.

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).