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image SM volume 111/66

Reference number

SM volume 111/66

Purpose

[1] Finished design for the altar surround and reredos of the Chapel Royal

Aspect

Elevation, plan and section of the east end bay of the Chapel Royal, illustrating the proposal in elevation and plan.

Scale

5 feet to 1 inch

Inscribed

In pencil at top left, 66

Signed and dated

Undated, but datable between December 1710 and January 1711

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over graphite under-drawing; on laid paper inlaid in C19 Whatman wove paper mount; 358 x 214

Hand

William Dickinson

Watermark

Strasbourg Lily (no 4WR)

Notes

This drawing is the finished, accepted scheme, from a preliminary design in Dickinson's hand in the British Museum dated 5 December 1710 (see Thurley, Hampton Court, fig. 201), which shows alternatives for the design of the reredos, the left version of which was adopted here, and drawn more carefully as a full elevation, accompanied by a side elevation (2; 111/51). As work began on the new altarpiece and reredos in January 1711, this revised drawing was probably made shortly after the preliminary design. The two-column frame was the grander of the two options in the preliminary design. As Thurley notes, Anne was fervently committed to upholding the Anglican faith and on her accession had made plans to enlarge the chapel at St James's Palace, in order to give it the 'form of a cathedral' (Thurley 2003, p. 217). This unexecuted work anticipated her enrichment of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court. The design omits the carved enrichment around the reredos panel and within the end-panels of the broken tympanum that is shown on the preliminary design, but this was carved on the reredos itself, presumably by Gibbons (Thurley, fig. 202). Dickinson's hand is recognisable from his scale bar convention, his shaky freehand drawing, his mid-brown ink, and the general looseness of his ruled and freehand line drawing and shading, all of which distinguish his techniques from those of his older colleague Nicholas Hawskmoor (compare also Dickinson's designs at 111/49, 50).

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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