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Malvern Hall, Warwickshire: (executed) alterations and addition of wings and porch for Henry Greswold Lewis, 1783-1786 (15)

Signed and dated

  • 1783
    Main Year
  • Other Years: 1783 1785 1786


Soane had met Henry Greswold Lewis (1753-1829) in Italy and they were of a party that toured Sicily in the summer of 1779.

On 20 August 1783, Soane travelled to Malvern Hall and made a survey of the existing house of seven bays with a pedimented three-bay centre. On 4 September were made '2 fair plans, 2 Elevations for the Alterations' and presumably drawing 1 for the north elevation showing the addition of two five-bay, two-storey wings, was made at about that time. Next came the estimates made 7 March 1784. At the end of April 1784 Soane exhibited a design for Malvern Hall at the Royal Academy that has not survived. Site visits and further drawings for house and offices continued to be made until about 6 August 1786. However, later (2 May 1798, SM Journal 1781-1797) Soane sent a design for the most remarkable of his works at Malvern Hall. It was for what he called 'a Barn à la Paestum', a building with four pairs of Doric columns, all of brick, which still exists though no drawings have survived.
There are references to site visits, expenses, drawings in SM Account Book 1781-86, Ledger A, p.20 and Journal 1781-97.

Soane's Plans, elevations and sections of buildings, 1788, has three plates: plate IV, a 'Plan of the principal floor' differs from drawing 4 in that the ceiling plans are shown, the twin stairs in the new wings are now half-turn with landings instead of flying, the porch has four columns instead of two and the garden stair is larger and square instead of segmental; plate V, a 'Plan of the Basement Storey' is as drawing 3 but with the addition of part of the kitchen court; plate VI, a perspective 'View of the Entrance front' is more or less as drawing 5, both are without the balustrades to the ground floor and first floor windows shown in drawing 1.

P.Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p.167-8, states that 'The wings were entirely demolished and rebuilt c.1931 when the house became a school. The attic storey was also removed at this time, its former appearance recorded in painting by John Constable. Soane also remodelled the core of the original house, and these alterations survive.'

Literature. P.du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp. 10-11, 126-8; D.Stroud, Sir John Soane, architect, 2nd ed., 1996, pp.122-3

Jill Lever, May-June 2009



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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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Contents of Malvern Hall, Warwickshire: (executed) alterations and addition of wings and porch for Henry Greswold Lewis, 1783-1786 (15)