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  • image SM volume 109/46

Reference number

SM volume 109/46


[10/4] Design for the ceiling and vaulting of the colonnade between the hall and the chapel of King William's Court, c.1713-14


Plan, with reflected ceiling plan in the right and central portions, and floor plan in the left portion, below which is a part-perspective sketch of the ceiling of the central part.


10 feet to 1 inch


In pen and brown ink by Hawksmoor with dimensions of the colonnade and ceiling; and at top right in C19 hand (top left in volume), 46.; and on verso by Hawksmoor in brown ink, probably at a later period (c. 1728?), Scizzas / Scizzas; and below in Hawksmoor's late hand, two columns of calculations, feet and inches on left, pounds, shillings and pence on right.

Signed and dated

  • Undated, but datable 1713-14

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over graphite under-drawing, with grey wash, and some shading in brown ink and graphite; on laid paper, attached by strip to guard of volume at top; central vertical fold, the drawing having been used later as a folder; 472 x 639




See insriptions noted in 'Inscribed', above


Strasbourg Lily / LVG; IHS / IVILLEDARY


The Wren Society editors linked this design to a contract order on 31 August 1704 for the roofing of the colonnade, but this contract only related to the part of the colonnade in front of the hall. Shortage of funds meant that the colonnade between the hall and south dormitory of King William's Court was to remain unroofed for another ten years. The decision to proceed with the laying of the entablature and roof in this section of the colonnade was probably not taken until sometime between September 1713 and August 1714. At the beginning of this period Hawksmoor was asked to prepare and estimate for 'finishing the said colonnade as far as the Hall extends', and at the end Edward Strong was required to prepare the roof for the 'South End of Colonnade encompassing the end of the South Dormitory, as far as that at the end of the Hall' (Wren Society, VI, pp. 68, 70).

The technique and annotations of the drawing are consistent with Hawksmoor's hand. The design does not show the perron and steps on the courtyard side of the central section of the colonnade. These were not added until 1728-35. The absence of any detailing for the areas in front of the hall and south dormitory confirms that the design post-dates the period around 1704-5 when work was put in hand on these parts of the colonnade. The detailing of the portico ceiling in the design conforms broadly to the work as executed.

The design of the beamed divisions between the paired columns on both sides of the colonnade must have been fixed at an early date. A new element in this drawing is the design of the central rectangular portion of the plan. Here the paired orders are carried up into the coving of the ceiling as pairs of flat ribs, framing coved vaulting in each bay.

The central flat ceiling is framed by a deep beam all round, with guilloche patterning on its soffit. The perspective sketch includes an idea for an inner beam of rounded section as a central framing element for the soffit of the ceiling. This is not expressed on the reflected ceiling plan, although an inner panel of this type was in fact executed (see Bold 2000, fig. 184). In the fabric, the beams that frame the square soffit panels are of very deep section, and are treated as part of the Doric entablature of the colonnade, their upper parts corresponding to a Doric cornice, with the mutules of the corona forming an all-round border to the soffit panels. The mutules are not expressed on Hawksmoor's drawing. Such detailing was probably finalised when Edward Strong began work on the roof in August 1714.

The numbers on the verso of the sheet can be dated to the later period, c.1728, when examples of Hawksmoor's hand have the '8' written horizontally, as here.


Wren Society, VI, pl. 31



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