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Design and presentation drawings for the exterior, January 20 and 14 1801


The elevation and perspective, both showing the lawn front for Pitzhanger Manor, are close to the executed design. Drawing 103 shows some pencil and brown pen alterations (presumably by Soane himself) which probably relate to the second, later date, noted in pencil above the left hand window (March 25 1801). These alterations include a balustrade and an urn positioned central to the left bay, above the cornice. The balustrade addition appears in the final design. The overall design is also very close to that of scheme F.

Ptolemy Dean and Helen Dorey (op. cit. above) each suggest that the design for the entrance facade of Pitzhanger (drawing 105) has its source in the form of a triumphal arch (the Arch of Constantine in Rome specifically). Although loosely, this does seem to be the case - in each the three bay structure is articulated by four columns (all the height of the first of two storeys). These columns are each surmounted by figurative statues. The three arches of the windows and door of the Pitzhanger facade also suggest the Arch of Constantine's tall central arch flanked by a smaller arches on either side. In addition, the proportions of the tall ground storey and much shorter first floor (as Pitzhanger facade is externally divided) reflect the vertical proportions of the triumphal arch.

The gardens and figures of drawings 104 and 105 are evidently a figment of Gandy's imagination, as the house had not been built at that date. These elements do convey one of Soane's intended uses for the house, however, as a place to which he could invite friends.

A concern is still shown with the retention of the Dance wing, particularly in drawing 104, as shrubs partially disguise the asymmetric structure and balance the opposing side.

Virginia Brilliant's TS catalogue suggests that the group of figures to the right in drawing 105 (a man in a blue coat, a woman, a child and a dog) are in fact meant to be Mr and Mrs Soane and one of their two sons.


Helen Dorey, 'Sir John Soane's Pitzhanger' in Trackers, exhibition catalogue, PM Gallery and House, 2004, p.21 P. Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate, 1999, pp.93



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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 Design and presentation drawings for the exterior, January 20 and 14 1801