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Drawings exhibited at the Royal Academy (2)

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Soane exhibited designs for Dulwich at the Royal Academy on five different dates; 1811, 1812, 1813, 1815 and 1823. All of these exhibited drawings had very similar titles and as a result it is difficult to match the Royal Academy exhibition catalogues with the surviving drawings. For the two drawings within this section there is strong evidence to suggest that they are the drawings exhibited in 1811 and 1823. Drawing 107, the ‘view of a mausoleum’ was the first drawing to be exhibited at the Royal Academy and drawing 108, the composite view or ‘architectural study’ was the last drawing of Dulwich Picture Gallery to be exhibited. Both are by Joseph Michael Gandy and are in their original frames. He was an assistant in the office from 1798 to 1801 and then he became an architectural perspective draughtsman and colourist until 1830.
There is more ambiguity about the other exhibited drawings. It seems likely that drawing 39 was the drawing exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1812 and drawing 73 exhibited in 1813 due to their size and quality. Few of the drawings in this catalogue have detailed titles inscribed on them, however drawing 39 is presented with its inscription in sans serif script - View of a design for a Mausoleum to the memory of Sir Francis Bourgeois / and a Gallery for the reception of his collection of pictures bequeathed to Dulwich College. It is an alternative design for the Mausoleum. The drawing exhibited in 1812 was RA No. 810 and was titled 'Design for a Mausoleum to the memory of Sir F. Bourgeois, and a Gallery for the reception of his collection of pictures bequeathed to Dulwich College'. As the titles correspond to each other so closely this supports the matching of this drawing to the RA exhibition catalogue.
The drawing exhibited in 1813 was RA No. 836 titled 'Design for a Mausoleum attached to the Gallery now building at Dulwich College for the reception of the pictures bequeathed to that establishment by the late Sir F. Bourgeois'. It is an alternative design for the west front with the Mausoleum. This exhibited drawing would have been drawn in late 1812 whilst the Mausoleum was under construction, indicated by the title of the drawing, and of the surviving drawings from this date drawing 73 is the most likely candidate. It is the grandest drawing, particularly given that it was drawn by Gandy. Drawing 72 is an almost identical copy of this ideal romantic view, but less dramatic, and was probably a preparatory study.
The drawing exhibited in 1815, RA No. 769 titled ‘View of the Gallery containing the pictures bequeathed to Dulwich College by the late Sir F. Bourgeois, and the museum attached there-to’ cannot be identified. As there appear to be no surviving drawings from this date Soane most probably re-used an existing drawing to exhibit at the Royal Academy at this time. Given the scope of perspective drawings for the Gallery it is impossible to match one to the Royal Academy exhibition catalogue.
A Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work, from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, 1970



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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.

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 Drawings exhibited at the Royal Academy (2)