Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Working drawings for Pitzhanger Manor, 24 December 1800 - 20 January 1801 (4)



Working drawings for Pitzhanger Manor, 24 December 1800 - 20 January 1801 (4)


These four plans, made in the period from late December 1800 to mid January 1801, show a more complex engagement with the spatial and geometric configuration of Pitzhanger. Drawings 97 and 98 are (respectively) an original and copy and drawing 99 and 100 correspond to them on the floor above.

From the plan, the axial relationship created between the Dance wing and Soane's new block is evident. As Ptolemy Dean indicates 'At Pitshanger, the axis through the Dance eating-room door determined the layout of the stair, and the centre line of the entrance hall beyond it'. The double-height vestibule can be seen viewing the ground and chamber floor plans together, led into on the ground floor by a single storey enclosed corridor space (a closet on the chamber floor). Again, as Dean suggests, this is typical of Soane's manipulation of space and scale, from confinement to openness - double doors open onto the three main ground floor rooms - 'The three rooms encircling the hall create a sense of 'permeability'.

The arrangement shown by these three plans is very similar to the executed version at Pitzhanger. The inscription of drawing 98 refers to 'Payne', presumably Walter Payne Soane's trusted Clerk of Works, who worked on Pitzhanger.

Drawing 100 is of note as the only design for the attics and consequently provides the only information regarding the design of the servant accomdation. It is probable that the servants would have slept in these four rooms as there were only a few 'household' servants permanently at Pitzhanger (Sarah, Mary and Jane, the cook, primarily). Moreover, Mrs Soane's Ealing Account book records the purchase of 'Yellow stripes for Garret Bed' (July 27 1804), which seems to indicate that the attics were indeed used as servant sleeping accommodation. Drawing 100 clearly corresponds to drawing 99, a plan for the chamber floor, with staircase between two chambers on the north side.

The most interesting problem here is the fact that there are no windows in the roof or walls. Presumably there was not enough space, and Soane felt they would have disrupted the external design. As a result the only light source would have been the large glass lantern drawn in section and marked as a dotted line on the plan. The plan shows that the lantern would have extended into each of the attic rooms, providing them with light. It almost seems conclusive, then, that the lantern must have been built at the time, although it no longer exists. As has already been mentioned, the support for the lantern is still in evidence today at Pitzhanger. It is probable that the lantern was removed in the mid 19th Century when the Perceval sisters extended the house to the north to provide additional service quarters.


P. Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, p.93



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

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 Working drawings for Pitzhanger Manor, 24 December 1800 - 20 January 1801 (4)