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  • image SM 45/5/8

Reference number

SM 45/5/8


Copy of measured drawing


Profiles of Cornice of the Attic, Architrave over the great door & great Altar and entablature of Temple of the Sun Colonna Garden


bar scale of Roman palmi (pricked in)


as above and dimensions given

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, slight pricking for transfer, within single and double ruled borders on laid paper (479 x 695)




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


Made to a scale of Roman palmi the bar scale has 12 divisions and relates to the scales of measured drawings of details of the Pantheon (Nos 6-8 q.v.) and is probably after the same Italian draughtsman. The marked dimensions do not always tally so that, for example, of two mouldings marked 2 7/8 (of an inch) one is larger than the other.
The Temple of the Sun was built in the third century A.D. The once considerable remains of a temple in the Colonna Gardens that had disappeared by about 1630 leaving only a large fragment of a corner of a pediment was thought to have been the Temple of the Sun. Later archaeologists have identified it as the Temple of Serapis, and subsequently as the Temple of Hercules and Dionysus. Presently, there is a case for reverting to the Temple of the Sun. Thomas Hardwick drew a similar study labelling it 'Entablature of Nero's Frontispiece' (RIBA Drawings Collection SB58/4) another name given to it at that time.
For sketch details of the entablature see (in Sketchbooks catalogue) 'Miscellaneous Sketches', 1780-2 (SM volume 40, f. 78verso) where the dimensions for the entablature correspond well with the drawing catalogued above.


P.du Prey, John Soane's architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp. 121-2



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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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