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image SM (1) 51/6/19

Reference number

SM (1) 51/6/19


[1] Survey drawing of the House of Commons and adjoining buildings, 1794


1 Elevation of the east (River Thames) front as modified by Wren and outline plan


bar scale of 1 and 1/10 inch to 10 feet


The King, labelled: The Clerk of the House of Commons, The House of Commons, The Speaker of the House of Commons and running dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • Octr 7th 1794

Medium and dimensions

Pen, brown pen, sepia and pink washes, shaded on thin laid paper with one fold mark (538 x 692)


unidentified - Office of Works 1794


This survey drawing of 1794 shows the House of Commons in the converted 14th century Chapel of St Stephen that had been its home since 1547. The front with 'Wren's round-arched windows' was altered by Wyatt in 1805-6 and 'given a spurious fourteenth-century finish with Gothic tracery tricked out in brick and stucco' (King's Works, VI, p.526)
Left and right are the houses of the Clerk and the Speaker of the House of Commons and a plan gives the outline of this group of attached but unaligned buildings. A comparison with a plan of Westminster Palace of 1793 (published in Kings Works, VI, fig.19) shows that this survey drawing corresponds except that the Speaker's large house with a three-storey projecting bay is labelled 'Auditor of Exchequer' on the 1793 plan.



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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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