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Record drawings of interior views and reflected-ceiling plans, as executed, September 1796 (5)

Signed and dated

  • Main Year: 0


This set of highly-finished drawings, drawn by Robert Smirke in the late summer of 1796, was probably done for Soane's own pleasure and as a record of his first major work at the Bank. The drawings were neither exhibited at the Royal Academy nor presented at the Bank, as far as is known. They may perhaps have been made as a response on Soane's part to the criticism his unorthodox decorative style was beginning to receive at this time (A. T. Bolton, The Portrait of Sir John Soane R. A., 1927, pp. 59-79)

The reflected-ceiling plan shows the simple arrangment of the piers and responds. But the main focus is on the hall's nine separate vaults (made up of four distinct types), whose composition and decoration represented the crux of Soane's achievement at the Bank Stock Office.

The views looking north and east are theatrically framed by the overhead vaulting and emphasise the hall's top-lighting and the contrast between areas of light and shade, what Soane called the 'poetry of architecture'. Besides the hall's architecture, the counters, central stove, and north wall chimney piece are also depicted.



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 Record drawings of interior views and reflected-ceiling plans, as executed, September 1796 (5)