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  • image Image 1 for SM 45/3/47, 45/3/48
  • image Image 2 for SM 45/3/47, 45/3/48
  • image Image 1 for SM 45/3/47, 45/3/48
  • image Image 2 for SM 45/3/47, 45/3/48

Reference number

SM 45/3/47, 45/3/48


Copies of measured drawings (2)


1 Pianta del primo Ordine dell' Teatro Ercolano vicino a Napoli
2 Pianta del second ' Ordine dell' Teatro Ercolano


bar scales in Palmi Romani and in Piedi Inglesii (1/8 in to 1 ft approximately)


as above

Signed and dated

  • (1) Novr 5th 1779; (2) Novr 6 1779

Medium and dimensions

(1) Pen, sepia wash, pencil and (2) partly pricked for transfer, within double ruled border; on laid paper (509 x 712, 509 x 708)




J Whatman, fleur-de-lis within crowned cartouche with GR below


Soane visited the buried city of Herculaneum on 4 March 1779 ('Italian Sketches and Mema' 1778-9, SM volume 164, f.43). At the time, the theatre was the only visitable building and then only via a series of tunnels made through compacted lava and mud. These copies of another architect's ideal reconstruction of the theatre at Herulaneum were made later in Rome (5-6 November 1779). Neatly drawn, and with bar scales in English feet and Roman palmi, Soane does not give the dimensions. His notebook (op.cit, f.43) gives the sizes of the seats - '2.4' and '1.2 1/2'. Here the Roman palmi scale is approximately equivalent to 1/10 inch to 1 foot.


P.du Prey, John Soane's architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.193-4, 267



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).