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SOANE, Sir John (1754--1837)
[Description of the house and museum. 1835/6]
Description of the house and museum on the north side of Lincoln's Inn Fields, the residence of Sir John Soane, ... With graphic illustrations and incidental details.
London: printed by Levey, Robson, and Franklyn. Not published. Only one hundred and fifty copies printed. [1835/36].
xiv, 109, [1] p., etch. frontis. port., XXXVIII pl. (17 litho., 14 engr., 7 zinco.) : [11] illus. (5 wd-engr., 5 etch., 1 engr.) ; 36.3 cm. (2º)

Not published. Only 150 copies of the third edition of Soane's description of his house and collections were printed in English, 100 of which were bound separately; 25 with French text first and the English text second; and 25 with the English text first and the French second (see Soane Case 79, insertion). The French edition is catalogued separately (q.v.). All copies in the Soane Museum have Soane's autograph signature in ink on the title-page. The text is a much enlarged and revised version of the 1832 Description (q.v.) with 'Graphic Illustrations and Incidental Details' supplied by 'B. H.' (Barbara Hofland), and the 1833 Act of Parliament for 'settling and preserving' Soane's museum and its contents for the 'Benefit of the Public'. All the major illustrations and 12 of the plates were reprinted from Britton's Union of architecture, painting and sculpture, 1827 (q.v.) with their imprints and signatures removed and new numbers. There are, in addition, some entirely new plates. The mezzotint frontispiece after Sir Francis Chantrey's portrait bust of Soane was engraved on steel by Charles Turner on 24 February 1831, and printed in 50 copies on 11 November 1831. (Archives 7/16/4). For a full list of the plates noting their appearance in the The union, the 1830 and 1832 editions of the Description see BAL 3089. Although the dedication to H.R.H. Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex is dated 10 September 1835, the book was evidently still not complete on 21 December 1835 when Soane issued an offprint from it entitled Description of three designs for the two Houses of Parliament (q.v.). The delay was due in great measure to Britton's reluctance to release the copper-plates and wood-engraved blocks made for The union. This was finally agreed at the end of October 1835; see A.T. Bolton (ed.), The portrait of Sir John Soane, R.A. (London 1927), p. 499. Archival sources indicate that the book was finally completed in the spring or early summer of 1836: copies were presented to the King and Queen on 29 July 1836, and to libraries, societies and friends in August (see Soane Case 78 and 79, containing copies of the presentation inscriptions and of the recipients' letters of acknowledgment). Fifteen copper plates used in the 1835/36 Description and sundry wood blocks used as head and tail pieces are listed in Bailey's 1837 inventory and remain in the museum's archive. Preparatory drawings and other material related to the Description of 1830, 1832 and 1835/36 can be found in SM Drawings Vol. 82; Vol. 85A; Drawer 60 Set 2; the Hobhouse Portfolio; and the British Library volume which is the subject of an article by Bianca De Divitiis, 'A newly discovered volume from the office of Sir John Soane', Burlington Magazine, CXIV (March 2003), pp. 180--197. After Soane's death further revised editions of the Description continued to be published at intervals beginning in 1840, at first under the title General description of Sir John Soane's Museum and later as A new description of Sir John Soane's Museum (most recent ed., 2007, in course of revision). BAL, Early printed books, no. 3089.

Copy Notes Soane copies 1--4 are English only; copies 5--10 are bound with the letterpress of the French text (q.v., copies 12--16) with the plates in the English version only.
Copy 2: 36.3 cm.
Copy 3: 38.8 cm. The title-page signed and dated John Soane / 17th. May 1836 and again John Soane / 23d May 1836 / My own Rough Copy. / J.S and inscribed To Sir Martin Archer Shee P.R.A. / With the author's kind regards / 17th. May 1836. Three errata in pencil are listed on the final free-endpaper, in the hand of George Bailey, Soane's assistant and first curator of the Museum. Irregularities in Soane's 'rough copy' - viz. the portrait frontispiece pasted in, some plates printed on different and smaller size paper, on India paper, or on waste paper (e.g. plates XXVII and XXVIII) with pin holes and ink smudges, and the absence of trimmed or gilt edges - suggest that it was a printer's mock-up. The Museum bookplate signed and dated by Arthur Bolton, April 7 1919, notes that the book was found in the Basement Cupboard.
Copy 4: 38.3 cm. With extensive manuscript corrections in red and black ink by Bailey in the years after Soane's death, their accuracy certified by Soane's former pupil and clerk C.J. Richardson in a statement on the front free-endpaper. Additional marginal notes by A. T. Bolton who also found this volume in the Basement Cupboard.
Copy 5: 37.8 cm. Bound (1) with the French text.
Copy 6: 36.7 cm. Bound (1) with the French text.
Copy 7: 36.5 cm. Bound (1) with the French text. Some leaves in the early part of this copy are inlaid, including the title-page and frontispiece.
Copy 8: 36.5 cm. Bound (1) with the French text.
Copy 9: 36.5 cm. Bound (1) with the French text. Many leaves in this copy are inlaid, including the title-page and frontispiece.
Copy 10: 36.4 cm. With pencil annotations by Spiers.
The Museum archives contain one further complete copy of the English and French texts in sheets with the plates; and a soiled and imperfect copy in sheets of the English text wanting pages 47--56. (Mandelbrote Packet 13). These pages together with plates XXIX-XXXII were bound in publisher's cloth 'For Use in "the Breakfast Room"'. The same packet also contains a number of loose plates in poor condition.

Binding Copy 1: C19th quarter black morocco, spine gilt stamped with stylized foliate ornament incorporating the date '1836', gilt-lettered 'Sir John Soane's / House And Museum'; brown publisher's cloth boards blind-stamped with scrolled foliate ornament, the front cover gilt-lettered 'Description / Of The / House And Museum / Of / Sir John Soane / Architect.'; gilt edges; pale yellow pastedowns and first and last endpapers, two of the plain free-endpapers stamped 'Bound by J. Smith, 49 Long Acre', i.e. John Smith (fl. 1822-1846 and recorded at Long Acre 1832--1846).
Copy 2: As copy 1 but with dark blue cloth boards.
Copy 3: Later full mauve moiré cloth, mid-C20th spine.
Copy 4: Later full dark green binder's cloth, upper cover gilt-lettered 'Description / Of The/ House And Museum / Of / Sir John Soane Arch.t.'
Copies 5--7: C19th diced russia, upper and lower covers blind-tooled and gilt-ruled borders; upper cover gilt lettered 'Description / Of The / House And Museum / Of / Sir John Soane / Architect.'; gilt and blind-ruled and tooled spine, gilt lettered 'Sir John Soane's / House / And / Museum / 1836.'; gilt edges; light blue silk bookmarks (lacking in copy 7).
Copies 8--10: C19th brown calf, spine and covers tooled, ruled and lettered as copies 5--7 (copies 9 and 10 rebacked with C20th calf spine). Bound by Edwin Hutchinson.

Reference Number 6620


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