Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Drawings

1. 'Miscellaneous Sketches 1777', largely by Henry Holland (SM volume 38)

Sketchbook with rough designs , dated ( p.50) 7 July 1777. A few drawings are by Soane.
Vellum label (with chamfered corners) on front cover inscribed Miscellaneous / Sketches / 1777 / J. Soane (by G. Bailey, Soane Museum curator, 1837-60) with 90 leaves (25 with drawings and 65 blank) of laid paper watermarked Whatman, bound in brown reverse calf with blind tooling, brass clasp (121 x 197). The medium is pen except where pencil is stated and almost all the drawings are freehand, that is, 'rough' and often slight. The leaves with drawings were numbered in the past as (pp.) 1-50
The entries are almost all in the hand of Henry Holland (1745-1806) who set up his office in about 1770. John Soane became his assistant in 1772 and stayed until his departure for Rome in March 1778. Of the drawings in the sketchbook it seems that 'although Soane added a few of his own drawings later, most are in Holland's hand' (D. Stroud, Henry Holland, 1966, p.39). Drawings attributed to Soane are on pp.44-9; when not stated, it is assumed that they are in Holland's hand. The drawings were swiftly done and made without a straight edge (except where noted) or compass (except p.37), that is, 'roughly' drawn. Apart from a few preliminary survey drawings of rooms (pp.32-4) and designs for lodge houses (pp.12-13) and garden temples (pp.38, 48, 49), most are ideas for the finishings of rooms such as chimneypieces, architraves, cornices and friezes. These are economically drawn so that, for example, two sides rather than three sides of a chimneypiece are drawn, and notes, references and instructions added. It is not difficult to imagine the sketchbook kept in a pocket and used when there was a spare moment, or on site visits, to make designs and the occasional survey, in a shorthand way that would have been expanded in the office. The names of eight clients are noted and only the last drawing is dated - 7 July 1777.
Essentially this sketchbook is a visual memorandum of design ideas to be worked out on the drawing board and is of most interest in terms of office practice. It is known that Henry Holland's office was run in a methodical and systematic way and that was one of the reasons that Soane worked for him. While there, the Soane accumulated various estimates, contracts and invoices to serve as models for when he set up his own practice. The Soane Museum Archives include material that came via Soane from Henry Holland's office, including: Private Correspondence IV.W.9a,c; Book of Building Agreements; volume entitled 'Copies of Bills 1785'; Private Correspondence XV.H.1.1-5; three Price Books, Soane Case 127-9; 'Extracts from various authors on Architecture', c.1776, Soane Case 140. There are also tracings of designs by the Holland office (see in Drawings catalogue): Album inscribed on spine 'Original Sketches / Miscellaneous / Architectural / Subjects' containing designs and tracings (numbered 1 to 192) by Soane, Dance and others 1770s- c.1807 (SM volume 42)


There are two Henry Holland sketchbooks in the RIBA Drawings Collection (see Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, volume G-K, 1973, pp.134-39) that are the same size as the one catalogued here. These were used for a different purpose, that is, as record drawings (meticulously redrawn to a smaller scale by office draughtsmen from working drawings) of details for the finishings of Carlton House, Pall Mall for George Prince of Wales, 1787-95. There would have been many more of these sketchbook-sized office record books, but sadly they have not survived.
Literature. D. Stroud, Henry Holland, 1966, pp.22-3, 39-40; P. du Prey, John Soane's architectural education 1753-80, dissertation for Princeton University, 1972, published Garland Publishing, New York and London, 1977, pp.32-43; P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, Chicago & London,passim; G. Darley, John Soane: an accidental Romantic, 1999, New Haven & London, pp.29-32
Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6  Next
Architectural & Other Drawings results view
Select list view result
Select thumbnail view result
Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6  Next
Architectural & Other Drawings results view
Select list view result
Select thumbnail view result