- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
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Upon hearing Soane's proposals, and probably to verify his claims, the Committee resolved to call in an independent firm of surveyors, by the name of Alexander and Sanders. The surveyors examined the condition of the east, south and west fronts and reported that, generally, the façade was in a poor state but did not demand a complete reconstruction. The ornament needed replacement, the balustrades and cornices were mostly decayed, but the columns and stone work were in a good state and no failures were found in the foundation. The surveyors' main concern was the wall thickness within the external recesses between the columns. Those niches in Robert Taylor's façades were found to be only 5 to 8 inches thick, 'insufficient, to our opinion, for the security of such a fabric' (Committee minutes, op. cit.).
On 8 March 1815, the Building Committee did not reach a conclusion: 'on account of the purpose of other business, the consideration of the Report [...] was postponed'. Although the Committee lost interest, Soane continued to work on designs for the new walls, as designs dated 1816 exist. Soane reported on the exterior again in May 1823, finally receiving the Bank's approval.
Madeleine Helmer, 2011
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 Façades proposals, 1814-1816 (14)
- Presentation drawing of the proposed south and east façades, 16 November 1814
- Surveys of the entrance building façade, January 1815
- Surveys of the entrance building and the screen wall façades (2)
- Record drawings of the existing Threadneedle Street front, 1816 (2)
- Presentation drawings showing variant designs for the Threadneedle Street front, 1816 (3)
- Design for the St Bartholomew's street front, 1816 (2)
- Design for the Princes Street front, 1816 (2)