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Reference number

SM (21) 51/5/35 (22) 51/5/36 (23) 51/5/17 (24) 51/5/16 (25) 51/5/15 (26) 51/5/14 (27) 51/5/7 (28) 51/5/5 (29) 51/5/13 (30) 51/5/12

Purpose

[21-30] Preliminary design and executed design for library and committee rooms, May and July 1826 (10)

Aspect

21 Preliminary Plan of the Ground Floor (verso) part unidentified plan 22 Preliminary Plan of the ground floor 23 Plan of the Ground Floor 24 Plan shewing the Library &c First Floor 25 Plan of the Second Floor 26 Plan of the Third Floor 27 Elevations and perspectives of the Front next the River and of two-bay return front 28 Interior perspective of the library 29 Executed plan of Ground Floor 30 Executed plans of (pencil) First Floor, Second Floor and Third Floor

Scale

(21-27, 29, 30) bar scales of 1¼ inches to 10 feet

Inscribed

21 as above, New Committee Rooms House of Commons, labelled: Mr Ley's House and dimensions given 22 New Committee Rooms / & Library for the House of Commons, labelled: House of Lords, Long Gallery, Painted Chamber, Staircase leading ^down to Long Gallery, Water Closet, W.C., Lobby, House of Commons, Solomon's Porch and dimensions given 23 as above, New Committee Rooms &c House of Commons, labelled: Mr Lee Labourer in Trust, Court, Staircase, Water / Closet (twice), Cellars &c / under the / Painted Chamber, Waiting Room, Court, Mr Ley's House, Passage to Mr Ley's Garden and some dimensions given 24 as above, New Committee Rooms &c House of Commons, labelled: The House of Lords, Lobby to the / House of Commons, Steps down, The Long Gallery, Engrossing Office, Staircase, The House of Commons, Court (twice), Water / Closet, The Painted Chamber, The House of Commons, Clerk of the Fees, The Library / 23' 3" by 55' 6" / and occasional Committee / Room and Mr Ley's House 25 as above, New Committee Rooms &c House of Commons, labelled: Staircase, Upper part of the / Painted Chamber, Passage, No 19 / Committee / Room / 17' 6" by 26' 6", No 18 / Committee Room / 23' 3" by 29' 0" 26as above,New Committee Rooms &c House of Commons, labelled: Staircase, Passage, No 21 / Committee / Room / No 3 / 17' 6" by 26' 6", No 20 / Committee Room / No 4 / 23' 3" by 19' 0" 27 as above, New Committee Rooms and Library for the House of Commons and some dimensions given 29 as above, labelled: Court, Cellar under painted Chamber, Mr Ley's House and dimensions (pen and pencil) given 30 as above and (pen and pencil) dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • (21) 20 May 1826 (22) 1826 (23-27) Lincolns Inn Fields / 22d May 1826 L.I. Fields (29) L.I. Fields / July 1826 (30) July 1826

Medium and dimensions

(21) Pen, sepia and dark red washes on wove paper (535 x 362) (22) pen, sepia, light blue and dark red washes, pricked for transfer on wove paper with one fold mark, one small old paper repair (658 x 487) (23) pen, sepia, blue and pink washes, pricked for transfer on wove paper (672 x 506) (24) pen, sepia, blue and pink washes, pricked for transfer on wove paper (672 x 504) (25) pen, sepia, blue and pink washes, pricked for transfer on wove paper (670 x 505) (26) pen, blue, sepia and pink washes, partly pricked for transfer on wove paper (670 x 505) (27) pen, burnt umber, blue and pink washes, shaded on wove paper (705 x 453) (28) brown pen, raw umber and light blue washes, shaded on wove paper (300 x 480) (29) pen, sepia, blue and burnt Sienna washes, pricked for transfer on wove paper (495 x 373) (30) pen, sepia, blue and burnt Sienna washes, pricked for transfer on wove paper (495 x 648)

Hand

(21-30) ? George Bailey (1792-1860, pupil and assistant 1806-1837) (23, 24, 25, 26) stamped (black ink) His Majesty's Office of Works & Public Buildings and with crown

Watermark

(21, 24, 25, 30) Smith & Allnutt 1823

Notes

A comparison between the preliminary designs shows that drawing 21 has three windows looking towards the Thames while drawing 22 has one window; the arrangement of partition walls also differs.
Drawings 29 and 30 are very close to drawings 23-26 so that 23 and 29 are the same, 24 and 30 first floor are the same, 30 second and third floor have a break in a partition that 25 and 26 do not.
Assuming drawings 29 and 30 represent the 'as built' drawings, Soane finally achieved an entrance, stair, committee room and (semicircular) waiting room on the ground floor, a library 55 feet by 23 feet and 13 feet 6 inches high on the first floor and four committee rooms on the second and third floors.
Drawing 27 shows a building four storeys high with an embattled parapet, angle buttresses, mullion and cross-mullion windows and a two-storey oriel window. These elevations and perspectives reveal the difficulty of designing a building that lies mainly within the existing fabric of an older structure. Two elevations are needed for approximately one-fifth of the new building which is three windows wide on one side and two on the other (though mistakenly drawn as three on the elevation). The interior perspective (drawing 28) of the library without its fittings emphaises the vaulted ceiling and good natural lighting.
A later drawing, dated March 1827, shows the three-bay elevation with plain slightly arched windows and a single storey oriel.
Four interior perspectives of the House of Commons library, dated June or July 1825, showing alternative or variant designs are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, for catalogue entries see P.du Prey, Sir John Soane, 1985, cat: 416-420.

Level

Drawing

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