- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
The room labelled 'Museum' (drawing 6) has a plan and form reminiscent of an unexecuted design by Soane (and/or George Dance) for the picture gallery (sic) at Fonthill Splendens, 1787 (q.v.). The long narrow plan that was unavoidable at Fonthill was here more apt for museum objects. George Dance's executed design for the Common Council Chamber of the Guildhall, London of 1777-8, included a top-lit pendentive or canopy dome (in which the dome and the pendentives are part of the same sphere) similar to the Fonthill example though circular rather than elliptical on plan. The three lanterns of the Senate scheme are elliptical on plan but with flat roofs rather than the conical lanterns set on drums of the Fonthill example. The first built example of a related design was the fine canopy dome with lantern in the Yellow Drawing Room at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, 1790-1 (q.v.).
For the picture gallery design (drawing 7), the young draughtsman has enthusiastically filled the frames with a great many joyous figures with flying draperies (or none at all) depicting various scenes from the Classics including the Rape of Europa.
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).