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  • image SM volume 42/82

Reference number

SM volume 42/82




Facade du Gran[d] Port[ail] au seize apostres de Manheim (Facade of the Great Portal to the sixteen apostles of Manheim) and unfinished sketch


as above

Medium and dimensions

Brown pen and brush on thin laid paper (318 x 196)




C Taylor


Mannheim, founded in 1606, was rebuilt twice in the 17th century and bombarded by the French in 1794 and the Austrians in 1795 and subsequently in Word War II. Neither Murray's Northern Germany, 1863 ('Mannheim does not possess many objects of interest, and need not detain a traveller long', p.526) nor Baedeker's Rhine, 1903 mention a cathedral. A book in Soane's own library Views taken on and near the River Rhine, at Aix La Chappelle, and on the River Maese by the Revd J. Gardnor, published in 1788 has an acquatint plate (opposite p.10) that shows the three principal buildings of Mannheim including the Baroque Jesuit church but not a Gothic cathedral. Perhaps the drawing catalogued here was mislabelled or else it was a satirical exercise.The first leg of Soane's return home from Italy was through Switzerland. His copy of Louis Dutens's Itinéraire ..., 1777, annotated by Soane, 1780 (see Itinéraire des Routes les plus fréquentées ... ' by Louis Dutens, 1777, reference needed) shows that he was in Cologne on 15 June 1780 and, assuming that he followed the course of the Rhine, would have passed through Mannheim. The sketch (on English paper) may have been made then or at a later date.



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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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