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Reference number

SM (21) 33/1/9 (22) 33/1/10 (23) 33/1/11 (24) 33/1/12 (25) 33/1/13 (26) 33/1/14 (27) 33/1/15 (28) 33/1/16 (29) 33/1/17 (30) 33/1/18

Purpose

Presentation drawings of finishings to rooms on the ground and first floors, 5 February 1793 with alterations made 22 July and 22 August 1793 (10)

Aspect

21 Plan and laid-out elevations of the entrance hall; plan of the north end of the room 22 Plan and laid-out elevations of the eating room; elevation of door; elevation of a pedestal; detail of bead moulding at a corner; and detail of a wall with beading and incised ornament 23 Detail of Cornice to the Eating Room and plan of Soffite to Cornice 24 Plan and laid-out elevations of the lower drawing room; (verso) round plan and section of the soffit in the lower drawing room 25 Detail of Cornice to Lower Drawing Room and plan of Soffite of Cornice 26 Plan and laid-out elevations of the second first floor drawing room and rough part-wall plan 27 Detail of cornice to the second first floor drawing room and plan of Soffite of Cornice 28 Plan and laid-out elevations of the third first floor drawing room; detail of corner; and part-plan of a window case 29 Detail of cornice to the third first floor drawing room and Soffite of Cornice 30 Plan and laid-out elevations of the anti-drawing room and part-section; (verso) (?)elevation of a panel

Scale

(21) bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot (22) bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot, and full size (23) Full Size and to a scale (24) bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot (25) full size and to a scale (26) bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot (27) full size and to a scale (28) bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot (29) Half Full Size and to a scale (30) bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot

Inscribed

21 (upper case) The Marquiss of Buckingham, Plan and Section of / Vestibule, 1:0, (feint red pen) Old Marble Chimney Piece, illegible feint pencil, 4'0", 5'2, 4:0 22 (upper case) The Marquiss of Buckingham, Plan and Section of the / Eating Room, elevations lettered A and B, A. equal margins // B. equal pannels, flush bead[in]g (twice), 1:4 (eleven times), Angle beads full size, (pencil) 6", Augst 22 Mr Soane ordered / one of the old Marble Chy Ps/ for this Room, July 22nd 1793 / Finishing to sides, July 22nd 1793 / Mr Soane ordered the/ Eating Room Pannels in (?)stucco, (red pen) Feby 8 1793 Blue White Green & cream color pannels, Stucco Molding white 23 (upper case) as above, The Marquiss of Buckingham 24 (upper case) Plan and Section of Lower / Drawing Room, The Marquiss of Buckingham, (pencil) July 22nd 1793 Mr Soane ordered / that no blank door / shd be present here, (red pen) Old Marble Chimney Piece / Feby 8 1793, Glass, Blank door 25 (upper case) as above, The Marquiss of Buckingham, (pencil) Richard wish[es] to know the form of the / Molding at A / Mr Soane not put any on out of darkness of Room, A, follow this angle x
26 (upper case) The Marquiss of Buckingham, Plan and Section of the front Drawing Room
/ on One Pair Floor, (pencil) Mr Soane markd this ornament / to be in this Place, 10", (red pen) Stucco, Gilt & cream color & pannel'd, Glass 27 (upper case) as above, The Marquiss of Buckingham, Cornice to front Drawing Room One Pair Floor, (pencil) Those ornaments to external a---- (illegible) 28 (upper case) The Marquiss of Buckingham, Plan and Section of the Principal / Drawing Room, (pencil) Mr Soane ordered the / sides to be Plaistered for Paper, Mr Soane ordered / one of the old Marble Chimy Pieces / for this Room, 9.6, 3, Mr Soane ordered / this a real Door, (red pen) Glass, Pannel'd in Paper & no Gilding, Jib Door 29 (upper case) as above, The Marquiss of Buckingham, Cornice to the First Drawing Room 30 (upper case) The Marquiss of Buckingham, Plan and Section of Anti / Drawing Room, (pencil) Finishing to sides / (?)ang[ul]ar pannels, Wood & Marble & Compon / Ornamt

Signed and dated

(21) Great Scotland Yard Feby 5 1793 and red pen Feby 8 1793 (22) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793, pencil dated, as above, 22 July and 22 August 1793 and red pen dated, as above, 8 February 1793 (23) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793 and red pen dated Feby 8 1793
(24) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793 and red pen dated Feby 8 1793 (25) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793 (26) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793, pencil dated July 22nd 1793 and red pen dated Feby 8 1793 (27) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793 (28) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793, pencil dated Augst 22nd 1793 and July 22nd 1793, red pen dated Feby 8 1793 (29) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793 (30) Great Scotland Yard February 5th 1793, pencil dated July 22, red pen dated Feby 8 1793

Medium and dimensions

(21-30) Pencil, pen and coloured washes including sepia, burnt umber, grey and blue, red pen, within triple-ruled brown and black wash border on laid paper (451 x 296, 449 x 297, 451 x 295, 451 x 295, 450 x 295, 445 x 301, 451 x 296, 444 x 300, 451 x 296, 450 x 295)

Hand

(21-30) Frederick Meyer (1775-?, pupil April 1791-1796) and Soane

Watermark

(21-23, 25, 28) fleur-de-lis over cartouche with GR below (24, 26-27, 29-30) J Buttanshaw

Notes

On 6 February, Frederick Meyer delivered to the Marquess 10 drawings of finishings to the rooms at Buckingham House (drawings 21 to 30). Soane wrote to Lord Buckingham the following day and visited him on the 8th, staying for three hours to discuss the rooms' finishings. Alterations and notes in red pen date from this meeting. Construction on the building was already underway as the finishings were chosen.

The entrance hall is elliptical in plan. As emphasized in pencil on drawing 21, the principal entrance and a front-facing window are separated from the central space by two wide round-headed arches at the north end of the room. Six medallions line the room under the cornice; as noted on drawing 6, these medallions were taken from the drawing room of the existing house. Peter Inskip describes similar terracotta bas-reliefs installed in the Grecian Buildling at Stowe in 1763 as part of the rededication of the Temple of Concord and Victory. The Stowe decorations show scenes from the Seven Years War and were probably designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart (1713-88) with the subjects chosen by the Society of Arts. The Buckingham House medallions may have been also made in 1763, although, as Inskip points out, the Stowe versions have lettering that is not apparent in the Buckingham House set.

The eating room has a segmental end with three south-facing windows. The room's chimney-piece, as noted in pencil, is to be salvaged from the existing house (as is the lower drawing room chimney-piece). A ball moulding lines the room and the ceiling is framed by a soffit of incised lines and bead mouldings, with framed patera placed at regular intervals. Red pen alterations to drawing 22, made during Soane's meeting with Lord Buckingham, show additional ornament, including eight attenuated baluster-shaped pedestals surrounding the room, two on each wall. An alternative design for the pedestals is at the margins of the sheet, showing a panelled form. The pedestals probably supported candles set in glass lanterns, although there is a possibility that they are intended for oil lamps. Oil lighting was increasingly used in domestic settings in Britain after the appearance of the Argand lamp in 1784. Despite the innovation in oil, candle lighting was still common: in the early 19th century, 'drawing rooms and parlours tended still to have candles and hanging chandeliers, dining rooms almost exclusively so unless lamps were placed on pedestals' (Country House Lighting, p.80). The lamps on drawing 22 do not resemble Argand lamps, which required an oil resevoir located above the burner; it was not until the development of the Astral and Sinumbra lamps in the second decade of the 19th century that a pedestal form could be effective.

According to the pencil note on drawing 25, the lower drawing room's soffit was simplified, with the diamond motif omitted on account of the rooom's darkness. The room is 34 feet long and lit only by two north-facing windows at one end. Red pen alterations to the drawing show a looking glass positioned opposite the chimney-piece, probably as a measure to reflect its light into the dark room.

The second drawing room on the first floor has the same dimensions as the lower drawing room, but with a segmental end (drawing 26). An inscription in red pen on drawing 26 specifies 'gilt & cream colour & pannels' for the room's decoration. The cornice has a wavescroll motif of acanthus leaves and rosettes over incised line ornament. The ceiling is framed by a soffit similar to the eating room on the ground floor, with incised lines between beading and framed patera at the corners (drawing 27).

The third drawing room on the first floor, here labelled the 'principal drawing room', has a chimney-piece salvaged from the old house (drawing 28). A jib door on the east wall leads into the adjoining ladies' dressing room. The cornice in the third drawing room has an acanthus motif; it is the same cornice as the drawing room at Bentley Priory, designed in 1790 for Lord Abercorn (q.v.). The ceiling is framed by a soffit with an incised Greek key motif (drawing 29).

The anti-drawing room has two windows facing the street (drawing 30). The ceiling is coved, with a wavescroll ornament over the alcoves that flank the chimney. The note in red pen specifies a wood, marble and composition ornament, presumably for the panel included over the chimney-piece. A dado rail is added in red pen.

Literature

Country House Lighting: 1660-1890, Temple Newsam Country House Studies, No. 4, Leeds City Art Galleries, 1992, pp. 79-80; P. Inskip, 'Soane and the Grenvilles', Apollo Magazine, April 2004, p. 20.

Level

Drawing

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