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Italian weights and measures


Weights and measures within Italy were extraordinarily diverse, reflecting not only kingdoms and duchies but also cities, towns and localities. Soane mentions, for instance, foglietta and botta, calata and rubbio, in connection with the price of wine and of artichokes; and gives palmi in reference to the size of a bridge and a canal, and has a note that the Veronese piedi is the equivalent of 1 foot and 1 3/8 inches (which accords with 340mm given in R.E. Zupko, Italian weights and measures from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, 1981, Philadelphia, p.196). And that a Florentine braccio is equivalent in length to 1 foot 10 and 9/10 inches (Zupko, op.cit. p.46, gives 584mm or 1 foot 11 inches).



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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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