Thomas Pitt also owned two adjacent houses on the south side of Hereford Street near to his town house. Bought as a speculation in the form of unfinished shells, he considered offering them to the Society of Dilettanti (of which he was elected a member in 1763) as their headquarters. Soane enthusiastically worked up a scheme for which he exhibited a drawing at the Royal Academy in 1784, ‘Design for a museum’ (see No.1). This was later engraved and published as plates 46 and 47 in Soane’s Plans, elevations and sections of buildings (1789). The design for a library for Lord Camelford (No.2) may be for the same site in Hereford Street since though different in design the dimensions (52 by 20 feet) correspond with the larger of the three library rooms shown in No.1. A comparison shows that the latter has five windows and not three, and that the room is entered from adjacent library rooms and not from a short end wall as in the drawing No.2. Still, given the site, Soane’s design of February 1785 could have worked and, of course, the patron for both schemes is the same.
See also Volume 42/135: London: Bath house for (?) Thomas Pitt at Hereford Street, London, c.1779
Jill Lever, February 2006
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).
Contents of London: Hereford Street, Grosvenor Square, Westminster: unexecuted designs for the Society of Dilettanti and for a library for Lord Camelford, 1784-1785 (2)
- Drawing made for exhibition at the Royal Academy, April 1784
- Design made for presentation, 3 February 1785