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Reference number

SM (1) 37/1/13


[1] Survey plan of the House of Lords and Painted Chamber with amendments, 25 January 1793


1 Plan of the House of Lords as intended


bar scale of 1¾ inches to 10 feet


as above, labelled Painted Chamber / 26ft:0in by 80ft:3in, Lobby / 11':0'' by 24':6'', Waiting Room / 10':3'' by 23'.0'', House of Lords / 70':0'' by 26':7''and Passage (twice)

Signed and dated

  • Copy Great Scotland Yard January 25th 1793 (Soane's office was in Great Scotland Yard from April 1791 until January 1794 when it was moved to 12 Lincolns Inn Fields)

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia wash, pricked for transfer on thin wove paper (349 x 567)


Soane office


Sawyer (op.cit, p.134) comments of this (officially requested) plan that 'Soane had been asked to make substantial improvements to circulation between the Lords Chamber and the Painted Chamber by nearly doubling the size of the lobby and making two additional openings in the Painted Chamber'. Soane had been Clerk of the Works for St James's, Whitehall and Westminster since 1791 and this small job, though not carried out, was a sign of an increasing interest by the establishment in doing something about the fabric of Parliament.
In August 1793 Soane was asked to supply survey plans of the Palace of Westminster to a dozen architects who had been invited to make designs for the reconstruction of the House of Lords; the invitation did not include Soane. Soane resigned as Clerk of Works in February 1794. In a meeting of the House of Lords Committee of 30 June 1794, Soane was asked to make designs for a new House of Lords. The terms were: 'Mr Soane be directed to turn his attention during the course of the summer to what alterations can be made to render the House of Lords, and the rooms and offices appertaining thereto, more commodious, consistent with the general plan of the adjacent buildings' (quoted by Sawyer, op.cit. p. 148).
Soane's designs made between July 1794 and February 1795 are all drawn over a survey plan that includes, for example, the House of Commons (5-29) or part of the House of Commons (30-35) and presumably relate to the survey plans made in 1793.

Literature. S. Sawyer, Soane at Westminster, PhD thesis, Columbia University, 1999


S.Sawyer, 'Soane at Westminster', PhD thesis, Columbia University,1999, pp. 134-5



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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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