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image SM (149) 49/4/12

Reference number

SM (149) 49/4/12


Design for the front elevation of the Board of Trade and Privy Council Offices


149 Front elevation with plan of the front; (verso) ground floor plan


bar scale of 1/6 inch to 1 foot; (verso) bar scale of 1/12 inch to 1 foot


(in Soane's hand) Lobby, (pencil) Cellar (twice)

Signed and dated

  • Lincolns Inn Fields / May 1823; (verso, pencil) June 20th 1827 (see note)

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia, yellow ochre, grey, pink and blue washes, (verso) pen, pink, grey and blue washes, pricked for transfer on wove paper (464 x 821)


Soane office


Drawing 149 throws up several problems. With its combination of three-quarters engaged and detached columns, single, central entrance and use of the Tivoli order it is comparable to drawing 71. However, the rustication does not match and the elevation on drawing 149 seems to continue beyond the edge of the sheet. What is more, the attic storey on drawing 149 is not seen on any previous design except drawings 139 and 148, but that elevation has the order of Jupiter Stator (Castor and Pollux). Quite clearly the date ('May 1823') is wrong. Adding to the confusion, the verso of the drawing has a plan of the new Treasury buildings dated 'June 20th 1827'. One possible explanation is that drawing 149 was made in 1825 but based on an earlier drawing with the Tivoli order. The plan on the verso incorporates the Home Office into the new building.



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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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