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  • image SM 62/5/1

Reference number

SM 62/5/1


[3] Rough preparatory sketch of the staircase hall, c.1817


Interior perspective


labelled (pencil): Window, 17 rises, Door, Picture, Com- / posite, Pic, Picture, Picture (I think) and some dimensions given

Medium and dimensions

Pencil on two sheets of wove paper, affixed, with two fold marks (444 x 384)


Soane Office


This rough pencil sketch was probably made in preparation for a lecture drawing. These were large drawings made by Soane's pupils and assistants to illustrate his Royal Academy lectures. The staircase was referred to in Soane's eighth lecture, wherein it was upheld as a fine example, 'worthy to form part of a royal residence' (quoted in Watkin, Enlightenment Thought, p. 608). Drawing [3] shows the staircase hall from the first landing. The upper part of the staircase is richly decorated with Composite columns, pictures, statues, overdoor ornaments and a central, coffered apse (actually a trompe-l'oeil). The lecture drawing SM 76/2/12 shows this arrangement in elevation. The staircase was designed by James Wyatt after an earlier project by Sir William Chambers and was replaced by a new staircase by John Nash in 1825 (King's Works, VI, pp. 261 & 265).



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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