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Designs for a new entrance to the House of Lords, unexecuted, 1828 (12)

Between February and March 1828 Soane made designs for a new Royal Entrance incorporating a porte-cochère, scala regia and a gallery to replace the existing entrance - and James Wyatt's much-maligned offices - in Old Palace Yard. Alternative designs were made for the exterior, one in a Classical and one in a Gothic style. According to an entry in Soane's Note Books, on Tuesday 4 March 1828 Soane "called by app[ointment] on Lord Farn[borough] with 7 drawings on 1/2 sheets of the proposed approach to the House of Lords". Charles Long, Lord Farnborough, was a connoisseur of the arts and an artistic adviser to the King. There is a suggestion that one of the reasons for replacing the offices next to the Lords was to avert the risk of fire that was posed by Wyatt's lathe-and-plaster façade (see SM 16/7/4). In 1828 Soane had noted the Lords' "want of security from fire" and had asked "in such an extensive assemblage of combustible materials, should a fire happen, what would become of the Painted Chamber, the House of Commons & Westminster Hall? Where would the progress of the fire be arrested?" (C. Shenton, The Day Parliament Burned Down, 2012, pp. 56-7). The new Royal Entrance was never executed, but a drawing of the Gothic version of the design was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828.
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