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  • image SM Adam volume 31/15

Reference number

SM Adam volume 31/15


[18] Design for the ground storey of the library, 1788, unexecuted


Plan of the ground storey of an eleven-by-eleven-bay building, with a stepped portico entrance in the principal front. Beyond there is a rectangular hall flanked by apsidal-ended porters’ rooms. The hall links to a circular staircase set within an octagonal block, which also contains closets and water closets. The central octagonal compartment is flanked by single-bay links, which connect to the surrounding wings. The flanking wings contain colonnaded schools and a printing office, and to the rear there are rooms for books. At the rear of the building there is a central stepped entrance and the right and left-hand fronts contain single-bay link blocks. The left-hand link block connects to a nine-bay building with a central stepped entrance flanked by pilasters. Within there is a central, circular hall with apses and columnar screen entrances. To the rear of the hall there are paired, curved staircases and the hall is flanked by register offices and rooms for librarians. The right-hand link-bay connects to the Senate House


bar scale of 3/4 inch to 10 feet


Design of the Ground Story of a new Library Register & Consistory for the University of Cambridge with Hall School Printing Office Librarians rooms / & shewing the present Senate House which is proposed to make a part of the new Design / New Register office / Anti room / New Register Office / Staircase / Hall / Anti room / Librarians room / New Consistory / Printing Office (underwritten in pencil) / Ware room for Books / Books (pencil) / Room for [_ _ _ _ _ _ _] / School / School / Porters room / Hall / Porters room / Senate House / Kings College Chapel (pencil) / No. 25 (pencil) and some dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • September 1788
    Sep.tr 1788- / A copy of this given to Mr. Stevenson / 28.t May 1789-

Medium and dimensions

Pen and pencil on laid paper (942 x 622)


Office hand, possibly Robert Morison


5 / 5 / inscription cropped




Bolton, 1922, Volume II, pp. 173-79; Index, p. 6
King, 2001, Volume II, p. 54
For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



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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.

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