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Reference number

SM 36/2/30


[10] Design for the interior of the House of Lords, 1735/36


Plan and laid out wall elevations


bar scale of 1/12 inch to 1 foot


labelled: 50 ft by 75 & 50 high

Signed and dated

  • 1735/36

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia (brown) wash, pricked for transfer within single ruled border on laid paper (362 x 529)


William Kent (1685 - 1748)


fleur-de-lis within crowned cartouche / LVG


Two drawings to show designs for the interior of the House of Lords survive. One is at the RIBA British Architectural Library (BAL, SC 58/67; Salmon, fig. 13.26) and the other, a variant design, is catalogued here. The two designs were possibly conceived after a 1735 commission to 'consider the order and method to be observed in this House when his Majesty comes here'. Although the Soane drawing is undated, the RIBA design is inscribed 'January ye 23 1735' (n.s. 1736) and it is possible that both relate to the 'Pantheon' scheme - the fenestration matches the plan catalogued here as drawing [4] and the interior architecture resembles the proposed furnishing of the Cottonian Library (drawings [8-9]).

Drawing [10] takes the form of an 'exploded' view with plan and laid out wall elevations, typical of Kent. In this design the House is double the width and a little over five feet longer than the old Lords' Chamber ('50 ft by 75 & 50 high'). The ceiling is coved and the upper walls punctuated with alternating fenestration and niches bearing statues. The throne sits directly opposite the entrance in front of an apse (the monarch is shown seated). In variance to the RIBA design, the benches on one side of the room are curved and break to allow for a large chimneypiece with an overmantel, and the bar takes a different shape. The arcades behind the benches were to act as galleries for the public.

(Salmon, pp. 337-38)



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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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