Soane made at least four alternative designs (drawings 1-8) before he reached a conclusion (drawings 10-14). The finished design has an inevitability about it that comes when plan and elevations are completely resolved.
The kitchen and stables wings were not built. Shown in the earlier alternative designs (drawings 1-8, 11) they were probably too expensive nor were the last designs (drawings 20-21), made a year later in April 1785, executed. Something like the kitchen added by Soane to drawing 12 was built, enlarged in the nineteenth century and replaced in 1975 by a new addition. Of the chimney-pieces designed by Soane, that for the eating room has survived.
Two alternative plans and elevations were published in Soane's Plans, elevations and sections of buildings erected in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, 1788 (1789), plates 41-42. Plate 41 is close to drawing 11, the plan reversed as instructed on the drawing, so that, for example, the stair is on the right-hand side, the stables on the left instead of right. Plate 42 is close to drawings 4 and 5 (Design No.3) except that, for example, the office wings are omitted.
There are references to Saxlingham Rectory in Soane's office Bill Book 1, Journals 1 and 3, Account Book 1781, Ledger A, Day Book 1792, Letter Book 1797-1801, Private Correspondence I.G.14 as well as in his Note Books. MS indexes to the Note Books, Bill Books and Journals are currently only available for study at the Soane Museum. There are plans to put these online.
Literature: P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.288-90, 293-5; D. Stroud, Sir John Soane architect, 2nd ed., 1996, pp.124, 126,242; P. Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p.169; P.Dean, 'Soane: the pragmatic architect', pp.68, 69, P.Dean, 'Early practice: country houses and the primitive', pp114, 116-7, 121 in M.Richardson and M.Stevens (eds), John Soane architect: master of space and light, 1999
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 Saxlingham Rectory, Norfolk: (executed) house for the Revd John Gooch, 1784-1787 (33)
- Four alternative preliminary designs, March-April 1784 (8)
- Sketch designs (2)
- Designs close to the final design, from June 1784 (5)
- Working drawing and copies of working drawings, from September 1784 (4)
- Copies of designs for kitchen offices and stables, April 1785 (2)
- Working drawings for the exterior, after March 1786 - May 1787 (3)
- Working drawings for a bedroom chimney-piece and (verso) entrance door, February 1787 (1)
- Working drawings for the eating room chimney-piece, 10 April 1787 (3)
- Working drawings for the chimney-piece in the library, 10 April 1787 (2)
- Working drawings for the drawing-room, May 1787 (3)