The entrance elevation and general plan were published in Colin Campbell's Vitruvius Britannicus, volume 2, 1717, plate 46. Here, the house was described (p.2) as 'designed and conducted by Mr. Fort, Anno 1712' for Roger Hudson. Thomas Fort (? - 1745), trained as a joiner and was Clerk of Works at Hampton Court Palace and at Newmarket. Colvin described the house as 'substantial but rather plain [and] astylar' (H.Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 4th ed., 2008). The three-part plan with quadrant links is the conventional layout for country houses of the period.
Drawing 1 is a survey plan with a pencil suggestion for longer and opposing arcs to the existing quadrants. The survey is close to the published ground floor plan and entrance elevation in Vitruvius Britannicus so that little has changed between 1712 and 1794. Drawing 4, 'Plan of the House ... in its present State' confirms this and its rough pencil proposals are finalised in drawing 5. Here, all the windows on the west side are blocked up, a wall between two rooms on the north-west is removed to make one large room labelled 'Breakfast Room or Billiard Room'. To the south-west, the stair and two smaller rooms are to make way for a library. The entrance hall is to be re-modelled and an inner hall made that is approached by six steps and has four large alcoves. The old eating room to the south-east now houses a geometrical stair, water closet and dressing room. Changes to the first floor (drawing 6) include a new drawing room on the south side permitted by the removal of the large half-turn with landing stair.
Soane's office Journals Nos. 2 and 3 shows that he made a survey on 8 March 1794 and 'drawings of alterations' were sent in October. More drawings were sent in April 1795 and in the following month Soane was 'paid in full' £26.5.0. - so that was that Sunbury no longer exists, P.Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p.186 states that where the house once stood 'is now open ground'.
Jill Lever, December 2012
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.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).