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Cosgrove, Northamptonshire: unexecuted designs for a house for M. Mansel, 1799 (14)


It is not known whether Soane's design was to replace the early 18th century Cosgrove Hall or was for a new house on another site. B.Bailey and N.Pevsner, Northamptonshire, 2013,p.192 records (of the Hall) that 'The interior was much altered soon after 1800'. 'Cosgrove' is not inscribed on the drawings or the two records mentioned below but the association of the Mansel family with Cosgrove as a place is very strong. Little is known of Mr M. Mansel except for what can be deduced from the drawings. A Justice Room suggests that he was a magistrate and the unconventional placing of the kitchen on the principal floor could suggest a practical man. There is a letter from Mr Mansell (SM1M1, dated 28 May 1799) enclosing a rough plan and giving a list of rooms required (including a kitchen on the ground floor). Mention is made of Mr Praed, a banker known to Soane, in terms of a loan.

The Soane office Journal No.4 has an entry dated 12 June 1799 which records five drawings (two floor plans, two elevations and a perspective) sent to Mr Mansel on the 'Wellingboro Coach'. The next and last entry is dated 30 June 1815 and is a request for £31.10.0 outstandng and ends 'Mr Soane presents his / Comps to Mr Mansel, & / presumes the foregoing ---- (illegible] / has escaped his memory...''

Seward was the draughtsman for Mr Mansel's house. He is shown in the office Day Book as making drawings for Mr Mansel on 5-11 June and again on 26 June. On the 12 June five drawings for' M Mansel Esqre' were sent by the 'Willingborough / Coach [with] the following / No.1 Plan of Hall Floor / 2 do Chamber / 3 Elevation of Entrance / do next Lawn / 5 Perspective on 4 & ½ sheets of / Imperial'.
The last of the 14 drawings catalogued here, a colourfull perspective, is dated 20 September 1799.

Jill Lever
October 2015



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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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Contents of Cosgrove, Northamptonshire: unexecuted designs for a house for M. Mansel, 1799 (14)