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image Image 1 for SM 71/2/44
image Image 2 for SM 71/2/44
  • image Image 1 for SM 71/2/44
  • image Image 2 for SM 71/2/44

Reference number

SM 71/2/44


Design for the Scala Regia, 15 August 1822


Section of the Scala Regia with rough design details in Soane's hand; (verso) details of an arch


bar scale of 1/2 inch to 1 foot; (verso) bar scale of 1/2 inch to 1 foot


as above, labelled: House of Lords, A, A &c full size, face of frieze, Stone Cornice H / full / size, Flutes / ½ inch deep / Balls ¾ diamt, Section on the line C D, Arch over Columns / full size, E, Arch full size, F, G, (pencil) like the Bank, Desgodetz p 80-83-84, Desgodetz 94, Set back 4½, five flutes, Desgodetz p 66, Board to fix ribs to, LL Desgodetz p 40, See Pantheon / pl 19 p 22, Plan over / Anta & Col, Plan over / Pilaster, A (4 times), C, D, E, F, G, H and dimensions given; (verso) Line of Cornice (twice), Enriched, Stone Frieze (twice), Archivolt (sic, twice), Band next enricht, (red pen) Springing of Arches and dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • 15 August 1822
    15 Aug 1822 and 17 Aug 1822; (verso) 27th August 1822

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pink and sepia washes, shaded, pricked for transfer on stout wove paper (523 x 742)


Soane Office


Smith & Allnutt 1817


In Soane’s new design for the Scala Regia the central bay has a cupola with a pendentive dome with a lantern and with apertures in at least two of the arches forming a clerestory. The scalloping of the central dome is borrowed from the Bank of England (perhaps, more specifically, the Rotunda of 1794-5) and in Soane’s hand is the instruction ‘like the Bank’. The ‘rectilinear volutes’ in the frieze over the panel pilasters may also be taken from the Bank (S. Sawyer, Soane at Westminster, PhD thesis, Columbia University, 1999, p. 408).

Below the cupola are two Ionic columns. The first and third bays have coffered, barrel-vaulted ceilings with incised pilaster strips. Below these are coffered niches with military statues. Design details and rough ornamentation have been added to the drawing by Soane, apparently on more than one occasion as he dates the drawing twice (15 and 17 August 1822).

Of most interest are references in Soane’s hand to Antoine Desgodetz’s Les Édifices Antiques de Rome, which he appears to have used as a pattern book in this instance (Sawyer, op. cit. above, p. 407 n. 1194). Soane owned five copies of this text, three of which were the first edition of 1682 with the other two being an English translation (1771) and a ‘new’ edition in French (1779). The only page number given on the drawing that refers to the first edition is ‘Pantheon, pl. 19, p. 22’ – a reference to the frieze around the oculus of the Pantheon. Sean Sawyer (op. cit. above, pp. 407-8) has identified the other sources, as engraved by Desgodetz, as being the cornice, architrave and frieze of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the fourth order of the Coliseum, and details of the Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus, all in the Roman Forum. Some of these details, as interpreted by Soane, are shown full size on SM 71/2/53-55 (q.v.). Sawyer notes that Giocondo Albertolli’s Ornamenti Diversi (1782-96) and Alcune Decorazioni di Nobili Sale ed altri Ornamenti were other sources for the decoration of Soane’s Royal Entrance.



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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