- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
and some dimensions given 4 as above, (pencil, of water closet) to be taken / away and some dimensions given (verso) Mr Pearse Linc[olns Inn Fields / Ground [floor] 5 as above, (pencil) Another Water / Closet / ---- --- (illegible) and some dimensions given (verso) Mr Pearse's Lincolns inn Fields / one pair floor
Soane's survey shows a five-bay house with an outdoor assemblage of courts, areas, passage and two basement stairs. Leaving space for an entrance hall, dining room and two internal stairs while at the rear, there are a large top-lit library and two associated rooms that may have been the chambers of the previous owner of the house, Daniel Macnamara (1720-1800), lawyer and Roman Catholic activist (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).
The site is 39'.8" wide and about 163 feet from front to back with stables beyond the rear boundary line. A blue wash represents outdoor spaces (other than the entrance court), skylights and cistern.
The second of the survey drawings (2) includes suggested alterations and changes of use to the ground floor so that, for example, one (geometrical) stair replaces the two old ones and the library is re-shaped and labelled 'Eating Room'. Drawings 3-5 all deal with the front part of the house which is outlined in black wash on drawing 2. Essentially, they show the new stair and an enlarged bedroom where once was the old stair. All five drawings have a blue-washed projection sited behind the main stair and in the party wall, that must be a shared lightwell. Perhaps this dates from the time (1705 to 1732) when Nos 51 and 52 were the official joint residence of the Keeper of the Great Seal. No. 51, with Soane's alterations, was demolished in 1904.
John Pearse (1759-1836) was a director of the Bank of England from 1790 to 1828 and Member of Parliament for Devizes, 1818-32.
See also the catalogue entry for Chilton Lodge, Chilton Foliat, Berkshire, a house designed by Soane for William Morland, 1791 that was rebuilt by Soane for Pearse, from 1796.
Jill Lever, November 2012
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).