- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
The Home Office had occupied part of the complex known as the Old Tennis Court since c.1808. This had formerly been one of four tennis courts at the old Palace of Whitehall. Originally built by Henry VIII, the Old Tennis Court was much altered internally, becoming in 1663 part of the residence of the Duke of Monmouth, which eventually came into the use of the Secretary of State for the Home Department and other government departments. The building retained its Tudor façade until 1846. Henry Dundas (1742-1811) was Secretary of State for the Home Department from 1791 to 1794. William Pollock (dates unknown) was his Chief Clerk.
On drawing 5, in pencil, the corner turret of the Old Tennis Court is given its proper octagonal shape. The outline of Soane's new Board of Trade Offices is added in pink wash (q.v. drawings 7-8). Drawing 6, which shows the upper floor of the Home Office, has Whitehall at the top of the sheet.
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).