- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
The very unusual chimney-piece is shaped like a pier table to stand against a wall or, it could be said, to resemble a porch. The dimensions read: 5' 2" wide by 1' 10" deep with the bases to each leg 4¼ sqr (square). The plan is segmental with four tapering legs, two fluted and two plain, offering an alternative treatment. Acanthus capitals, a waterleaf and dart moulding and three bands of balls ornament the legs and the 'entablature'. Its Frenchified design is a reminder not only that it was commissioned by a Frenchman but - in some of the details such as the legs - that Soane once worked (from 1772 to 1778) for the stylistically Francophile Henry Holland (1745-1806).
See also the Soane Museum's online book catalogue for books bought by Soane from Calonne's library after the great sale of 1793. These are not architectural and (all in French) are mostly literature.
Jill Lever, January 2013
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).