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Reference number

SM 36/2/17

Purpose

[5] Design for the ground floor beneath the Cottonian Library

Aspect

Part plan of the ground floor overlaid on to a general site plan

Scale

bar scale of 5/9 inch to 10 feet

Inscribed

labelled: Parliamt Stairs, Cotton Garden, The River Thames, Princes / Chamr, House of Lords, Painted Chamr, Cotton House, House of Comms

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pricked for transfer on laid paper with one fold mark (376 x 539)

Hand

William Kent (1685 - 1748)

Watermark

IHS / I Villedary

Notes

Seemingly an intermediary design between the first of the 'Pantheon' designs (drawings [2-4]) and the more detailed designs for the Cottonian Library (drawings [6-9]), drawing [5] shows part of the east front of the new Parliament House including the ground-level room beneath the Cottonian Library. This space now has spiral staircases in the north-east and south-east corners in addition to the two spiral staircases to the west that are seen in previous plans.

Of greatest significance is the juxtaposition of the new design with the general site plan showing, for instance, the House of Lords, the Painted Chamber and the House of Commons. The north wall of the new Parliament House is aligned with the south wall of the House of Commons and has windows that are incongruous with the medieval building, so presumably it was intended to demolish the House of Commons as well as the historic buildings to the south. This drawing therefore establishes the precise location of the building in the 'Pantheon' design and proves that the adjoining building shown in drawings [3] and [4] is Westminster Hall.

Level

Drawing

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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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