- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
Soane's interest in the reduced villa form of the 'casino' was a continuing one. In a chronological order of the known designs, Soane published a plan and elevation (58 feet wide) for a 'Hunting Casine' in his Designs in architecture (plate xxix) in 1778. du Prey (1982, pp.270, 383 fn. 9) writes of a design dated October 1779 that Soane presented to the Accademia de Belle Arti, Florence (not yet located). The rough elevation for a casino (drawing 1) made on the verso of a copy of a measured drawing was probably made in early May 1780. In August 1780, Soane drew a rough plan and two elevations (about 70 feet wide) for a casino while staying at Downhill, Northern Ireland (Sketchbooks catalogue: 'Downhill' 1780-1, (SM volume 80) note/sketchbook, f.4). In 1781, Soane exhibited a design (plan 55 by 55 feet) for a 'hunting casine' at the Royal Academy (drawing 2). A record drawing made after 1784 is a copy of a plan (36 by 47 feet) for a casino made earlier. The results of Soane's concern with compact planning and with the bombé front found in his casino designs can be seen in some of his early commissions. Soane's continuing interest is also evident in, for example, a plan and elevation for a 'Hunting Casine' with a bowed loggia and a front 55 feet wide, published in his Sketches in architecture (1793, plates plates xxxviii, xxxvix). For a casino design in his later publication Designs for public and private buildings (1832) see note to drawing 2. Drawing 4, an elevation 82 feet wide, might be better described as for a 'villa' but it has been catalogued in the past (Concise Catalogue, q.v.) as a 'casino' and it does relate to the other designs.
Literature. P.du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.269-76
Jill Lever, November 2005
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 Alternative designs, and record drawing, for a (hunting) casino, c. 1780 (4)
- Preliminary design in a Doric style, c. 5-7 May 1780
- Design in a Roman Doric style on a plan of 55 x 55 feet, made for exhibition at the Royal Academy, 1781
- Record drawing of a casino 36 x 47 feet
- Design in an Ionic style and 82 feet wide