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Tyringham Hall, Buckinghamshire: Sepulchral Chapel/Church, 1800-1801 [13]


Tyringham Hall, in Buckinghamshire was built by Sir John Soane between 1793 and1797 for the banker and politician William Praed (1747-1833). The estate consisted of a house, stables, bridge, and an entrance gate with side lodges. It seems in November 1800 Soane had been called upon to construct a new church, as one which was already on the site had fallen into disrepair. Soane conceived of a design for a sepulchral chapel to be placed within the grounds of the Tyringham estate. The Soane Office Day Books record Joseph Michael Gandy and Thomas Sword working on the project daily from November 1800 to January 1801.

Soane’s plans used a trefoil arrangement which some have argued go back to Laugier’s ideal plan for a church in l’Essai sur Architecture (1754) which called for a triangular church with a circle within being the ideal, which Soane followed with his own version. The drawings show the process from free-hand drawings to a spectacular watercolour exhibited at the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1801.

The chapel at Tyringham was never executed. Soane recorded in his publication Designs for Private and Public Buildings in 1832 that it would have been too expensive, and it would have been more economical to repair the pre-existing church.

Literature: Sir John Soane, Designs for Private and Public Buildings, 1832, p. 41; Arthur Bolton,The Works of Sir John Soane, R.A., Architect. 1753-1837, 1923; Pierre de la Ruffinière du Prey, Sir John Soane; Catalogue of Architectural Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum,1985; Dorothy Stroud, Sir John Soane, Architect, 1998; Margaret Richardson, ‘Tyringham’ in John Soane, Architect: Master of Space and Light, eds Margaret Richardson and MaryAnne Stevens, 1998, pp. 128-141; Brian Lukacher, Joseph Gandy: An Architectural Visionary in Georgian England, 2006; Roberto Rossi, ‘Sir John Soane and the Sepulchral Chapel’ in Mausolus: the Journal of the Mausolea & Monuments Trust, Summer Bulletin 2018, 2019, pp. 8-20

Roberto Rossi, 2019

Updated in 2021 following research by Roger White.



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

Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).  

Contents of Tyringham Hall, Buckinghamshire: Sepulchral Chapel/Church, 1800-1801 [13]