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Vestibule, February - July 1801 (9)

Pitzhanger Vestibule consists of a one-storey lobby, which opens up into a double-height domed hall. Pitzhanger was not a large house, and yet through this manipulation of space Soane was able to convey a sense of grandeur more common to a much larger building. The vestibule also puts the entrance on an axis with the conservatory, creating a vista that runs through to the conservatory and gardens.

The decorative scheme was influenced by that of the Arch of Constantine, Rome (just as the entrance facade suggests the proportions of that arch). Specifically, the Thomas Banks roundels of Sol and Lunar are based on those of the Arch of Constantine (also used on the south entrance arch to the Lothbury Courtyard at the Bank of England) and are still in place today.

The double height part of the vestibule is enclosed by a flattened dome, and in its centre is a plaster rosette supplied by Benjamin Grant in 1801. Some of the designs for the vestibule including drawings 126 (section 4) and 186 show an object with a repeated S-shaped pattern that is probably an iron railing, surrounding a circular opening in the ceiling. This would have been designed to let light into the vestibule from the lantern above. For whatever reason this was never constructed, as the bill for the plaster flower and its presence today suggest. Instead light was drawn from the (then) amber coloured glass in the upper walls of the vestibule, as can be seen in C. J. Richardson’s watercolour in the 1830s (drawing 260).

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

Matilda Burn 2010
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