- English Baroque Drawings: architecture, sculpture and garden design
On the other hand, the lack of sculptural and architectural framing around the hearths sets these sketch designs apart from Gibbons's grander compositions in sections 4 and 5, below. The sketch designs could, in fact, be re-workings of the earlier schemes, prepared fairly late in the design process (e.g. c.1694, or perhaps even as late as 1699 when work resumed on the refitting of the interiors of the state apartments). One design bears a scale in another hand (3; 110/51), suggesting a proposal for execution.
Common characteristics of this group are: (1) very loose pen outline technique, lacking precision in the detailing of foliage and the human figure; (2) light washed technique, in just one or two applications in a dilution of the grey-brown ink of the line drawing, with coloured wash on only one drawing (2; 110/33); (3) presentation of two clear alternative schemes in one drawing, either side of a central vertical line, drawn firmly in graphite; (4) a plain fire surround frame, without mouldings; (5) no indication of room cornice; (6) much reduced scheme for relief carving, the motifs limited to drops of fruit and flowers, some drapery and simple figures; (7) emphasis on the area above the fire surround as the main compartment for sculptural display; (8) the use of a smooth white laid paper in sheets of smaller dimensions than the others by Gibbons.
Four of the five drawings are on whitish writing paper produced by at the Nersac paper mill of Claude de George, near Angoulême, France, for Abram Janssen, a Dutch factor. Hence they have the watermark of an ornamental fleur de lys over 4WR and AJ, and the countermark CDG (see English Baroque architectural drawings / Introduction).
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 Five sketch designs, with alternatives, for plainer chimney-pieces, related to designs in 1, 4, and 5
-  Incomplete preliminary design for a chimney-piece with alternative console panels supporting the mantel shelf, and a sketched overmantel display of a trophy and arms within a draped curtain canopy
-  Sketch design for alternative chimney-pieces, left and right, with a tall frame in the overmantel, bordered on left with suspended drapery and foliage and on right with foliage and putti, and with alternative fire surround panels, the right one oval, shaded pink, and surmounted by a crown and putti on the mantel shelf.
-  Alternative designs for two chimney-pieces, left and right, with mid-height panels, and with overmantels as square or chamfer-cornered frames, flanked on the right by a drop of acanthus and flowers and on the left by a sketched armorial display
-  Sketch design for alternative chimney-pieces, left and right, with tall mid-height picture frames, chamfer-cornered on left and square on right, the left one bordered by a caryatid console and the right one by a foliage drop, and the overmantel with a single martial composition of putti, shields and arms
-  Sketch design for alternative chimney-pieces, left and right, with octagonal and rectangular mid-height panels bordered by foliage, and with a high mantel shelf bearing a royal coat of arms amongst putti, foliage, wings and trumpets.