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Survey drawings and views of the existing Pitzhanger Manor, September - November 1800 (18)

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  • Main Year: 0


Except for the wing added by George Dance in 1768, Soane had little respect for the original Pitzhanger Manor, which is recorded in the survey drawings within this scheme. Indeed, he described it in his 1833 publication Elevations, and Perspective Views, of Pitzhanger Manor-House, as ‘an incongruous mass of buildings, but sufficiently capacious for the reception of a large establishment. The whole had been erected without any general plan: the exterior, composed of lofty brick walls, three stories high, with perforations for the admission of light, and for ingress and egress, was deficient in symmetry and character, so necessary to distinguish the work of an artist from that of a speculative builder.’ The survey drawings record the old house as Soane described, as it was under the Gurnell family ownership.

The two-storey Dance wing is recorded attached to a plain haphazard building, arranged over three floors with a cellar; Soane was to demolish the pre-1768 house but eventually decided to preserve the Dance wing. In the interests of economy Soane attempted to reuse much of the building material from the old house.

Some of the survey drawings carry revisions and alterations for Soane’s intended house, possibly added at a later date than that of the original record drawing. Interestingly, there are a few drawings that post-date the demolition process at Pitzhanger. It is probable that these are copies or worked up drawings from earlier sketches made by a pupil for practise or for Soane’s own records.

Virginia Brilliant's TS Catalogue of Pitzhanger has been instrumental to the creation of this catalogue.

Matilda Burn 2010



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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 Survey drawings and views of the existing Pitzhanger Manor, September - November 1800 (18)