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SOANE, Sir John (1753--1837)
A letter to the Earl Spencer, K.G. &c. &c. &c. from John Soane, architect.
London: 1799.
21, [3] p. ; 20.6 cm. (8º)

The final leaf is blank. Concerning the competition in 1799 for the surveyorship of the East India Company which Soane lost to Henry Holland, who was supported by Earl Spencer, First Lord of the Admiralty. It builds on Soane's earlier grievance against the previous Surveyor, Richard Jupp, who in 1796 had caused Soane's exclusion from the competition to design India House, the new headquarters for the Company, in connection with which Soane had printed but never issued a four-page folio letter, addressed to an unnamed gentleman and describing Jupp's unsuccessful attempts to defend his conduct. Soane's Letter to the Earl Spencer is quoted at length in his Memoirs of the professional life of an architect (not published, 1834; privately printed, 1835). For a more detailed account of the background to this work, see A.T. Bolton, The portrait of Sir John Soane, R.A. (London 1927), pp. 59--79; Gillian Darley, John Soane: an accidental romantic (London 1999), pp. 141--143; see also the notes to the BAL entry. BAL, Early printed books, no. 3097; ESTC t11281.

Copy Notes Copy 1: With the original printed blue paper wrappers reading 'Letter To The Earl Spencer, K.G. &c. &c. &c.' bound in.
Copy 2: Loose pamphlet. Title-page inscribed in ink Not published/ To be returned to JS.-.
Copies 3--6: Loose pamphlets.
Copy 7: With the original printed blue paper wrappers reading 'Letter To The Earl Spencer, K.G. &c. &c. &c.' bound in, the upper wrapper embossed with C20th Soane Museum stamp. Bound (1) with four other pamphlets.
Copy 8: This copy is marked up with minor editorial changes and page references to the Memoirs in pencil and ink.
Copy 9: With the ownership inscription in ink of Jos: Farington at the head of the title-page. Bound in an album containing a collection of miscellaneous papers and press cuttings relating to Soane and taking its title from the satirical skit The Modern Goth (q.v.); the volume, also bearing the ownership inscription of Joseph Farington, corresponds to lot 571 on the second day of Sotheby and Son's sale of Sir Thomas Lawrence's library in June 1830 (q.v.). However, it is not clear at what point the 'Modern Goth' album came into Soane's possession, as it is not recorded among Britton's purchases for Soane at the Lawrence sale. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.7.4).
A further eighty-five unbound copies of this unpublished 1796 letter are in the Soane Museum Archive. (Packet 8).

Binding Copy 1: Bound in a numbered series of late 19th century half calf pamphlet volumes. (Archive, Trustees' Minutes 18 June 1866). With binder's stamp 'Bound By Mansell' on front pastedown.
Copies 2--6: Pamphlet-stitched in original printed blue paper wrappers, the upper reading 'Letter To The Earl Spencer, K.G. &c. &c. &c.'
Copy 7: Mid-C20th binder's cloth, spine-title 'Soane Pamphlets'. Bound in 1942.
Copy 8: Pamphlet-stitched in original printed blue paper wrappers, the upper reading 'Letter To The Earl Spencer, K.G. &c. &c. &c.'
Copy 9: C19th half calf, gilt-ruled and gilt-lettered spine, marbled-paper boards, upper cover with paper label lettered in ink 'The / Modern / Goth'. The leaves of the album watermarked 'H SMITH / 1810'.



Reference Number 3315


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