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Laurence Pountney Lane, Number 4, London, unexecuted designs for ceilings and chimneypieces for Charles Rogers, 1765 (21)

Signed and dated

  • 1765


Charles Rogers (1711-84) was an antiquarian and collector. In 1731 he became clerk to William Townson (d.1740) in the customs house, from whom he inherited various properties in London, including 3 Laurence Pountney Lane, which housed Townson's considerable collection of art and books. Rogers lived at 3 Laurence Pountney Lane from 1746, and continued to build the collection there until his death in 1784. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1752, and a fellow of the Royal Society in 1757. One of the greatest achievements of Rogers' life was the 1778 publication of a two-volume work entitled A collection of prints in imitation of drawings... to which are annexed lives of their authors, with explanatory and critical notes. This contains facsimiles of various works by master artists, including pieces from Rogers’ own collection.

Rogers purchased number 4 Laurence Pountney Lane, an early Georgian house which has since been demolished, from Mrs Mary Gibbs in 1764. Adam was employed to design new ceilings and chimneypieces for this house, first producing a set of survey plans of the building to assist in this process, although none were executed. Adam's plans, however, show both the domestic and warehouse spaces required for mercantile use, and Rogers may have intended to let out number 4 for this purpose.

Rogers died unmarried, and his collection and property - including numbers 3, 4 and 5 Laurence Pountney Lane - passed first to his brother-in-law William Cotton (d.1791), and then to his nephew, also William Cotton (d.1816), who sold part of the collection in auctions of 1798, 1799 and 1801. What remained of the collection passed to Rogers' great nephew, another William Cotton (1794-1863), who bequeathed it to Plymouth Library.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 41, 86; B. Weinreb, and C. Hibbert, The London encyclopaedia, 1983, p. 460; S. Bradley, and N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London 1: The city of London, 1997, p. 529

Frances Sands, 2012



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

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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.

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Contents of Laurence Pountney Lane, Number 4, London, unexecuted designs for ceilings and chimneypieces for Charles Rogers, 1765 (21)