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Model for the Bank of England, London, Old Colonial (or, 5%) Office & projected south-east angle, (designed by Sir John Soane), painted wood

Height: 71cm
Width: 47.5cm
Depth: 35cm

Museum number: MR16

Curatorial note

Scale 4ft to 1in. Painted wood and metal. In December 1814 Soane drew the Directors’ attention to the deterioration of the south front of Taylor’s two surviving offices south of the Rotunda, ‘particularly the low front next St Bartholomew Lane and the continuation thereof towards the centre in Threadneedle Street’. The Building Committee, however was reluctant to face the larger issue of replacing Taylor’s screen wall’ and Soane was limited to gutting and rebuilding the Colonial and Dividend Offices between 1818 and 1823 to an identical pattern as shown by this model for the former. Following the basic principles of the Bank Stock office design (model MR20), These halls were given fire-proof vaults, involving the system of earthenware cones used elsewhere (see nos M609 and M610). While this model is open on two adjacent sides to show the vaulting and provisions for light, the other sides indicate Soane’s early ideas for the screen wall which would eventually have to be rebuilt. On the east façade of the model a token bay of Taylor’s existing façade to Bartholomew Lane is juxtaposed to Soane’s proposed design for replacing the south-east angle. As an indication of his intensions for continuing the south front beyond the limits of the model another one (M1262) representing a further 36ft of the wall, was produced to join the west edge of model MR16. This latter shows two bays of a colonnade projecting from the centre of the east wing of the Threadneedle Street frontage, corresponding to the recessed columns adopted in the final design executed in 1823-25 (see model SC4). For the interiors of the Colonial and Dividend Offices, Soane designed ornaments for the tops of the cupboards which were cast in plaster and painted to simulate wood; Model H10 represents his design for the scroll cresting and model M600 that for the recurring anthemion motif.

Exhibition history

Metropole London 1800 bis 1840, Villa Hügel, Essen, 6 June - 8 November 1992


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk