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Six unexecuted schemes for a villa at Acton: villas A to F, 31 May - 2 August 1800 (46)

1800
Having bought an empty plot of land in May 1800, Soane was able to design a house for Acton without the physical constraints imposed by a pre-existing building. The design evolution of section 1 begins with a simple compact villa with vestigial wings (which become even smaller in subsequent drawings). Drawings 7 to 17 show the vestigial wings slightly curved (a development from designs Soane had made for Tyringham). The design process elaborates on this, moving through a bombé drawing room and then adding symmetrical projecting porches on both entrance and garden fronts. The later designs show low walls joining these porches to the main body of the house.

There are also two models, corresponding to the later designs from this section, MII45 and MII46. The former appears very similar in design to drawings 41 to 46, although without the low curved walls linking the porch to the main body of the house, or the urns and figurative statues. MII46 is very close to drawing 36.

Soane sold the site to an Acton neighbour, John Winter (Solicitor to the Bank of England) who obligingly took it off Soane’s hands when the latter decided to buy Pitzhanger for £4,000 more than he had paid for the land at Acton (which cost him only £500).

The Acton designs form an important starting point for those for Pitzhanger - although the nature of design was eventually very different, given the constraints of the pre-existing building at Ealing.

Virginia Brilliant's TS Catalogue has been instrumental to the creation of this catalogue.

Matilda Burn 2010
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