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image SM Drawer 47/7/2

Reference number

SM Drawer 47/7/2

Purpose

[5/4] Preliminary design for the chapel, c.1698

Aspect

Plan

Scale

8 ft to 1 inch

Signed and dated

  • c.1698

Medium and dimensions

Laid paper (with attached sheet of wove paper from album at one end); 528 x 363

Hand

Hawksmoor (with John James?)

Watermark

Strasbourg Lily / 4 / WR / V; countermark: I VILLEDARY

Notes

Not previously published, and with a separate provenance to the main group for Greenwich in volume 109 (along with two others for the Chapel, SM Drawer 47/7/1 and 3; see [12/10] and [12/11]), this drawing is an early plan-study for the Chapel on the north side of the east court. It shows the Chapel in isolation from the other ranges on the east side. Unlike the completed chapel, built 1735-51, it has projecting chancel bay. Internally this bay is flanked by two block-like projections for the piers or columns of a chancel arch (See Malton and Bickham's undated engraving of the Chapel interior in Bold 2000, fig. 219).

In technique the drawing resembles Hawksmoor's half-plan of the vestibule of the hall [5/3], although no colonnade is shown. The plan probably belongs to the three-block arrangement shown in the 1699 engravings, but no known scheme from this period incorporates a chapel with a projecting chancel. Five steps lead up to the threshold of the chancel, which is framed by piers for the enclosing arch. The diagonally laid paving of the central aisle separates two blocks for seating. A pulpit and reading desk would probably have been installed in the box enclosures in the two eastern corners. The 11 steps rising to the entrance at the west end anticipate those of the completed vestibule.

The proportioning of the main Chapel space, and the approach to it from a long flight of steps on the west side of an octagonal vestibule, recall the hall and chapel range at Chelsea Hospital, completed in 1690.

Level

Drawing

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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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