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  • image SM 20/9/1

Reference number

SM 20/9/1


Copy of measured drawing


Plan showing a reconstruction of the Baths


bar scale of feet


as above

Medium and dimensions

Pen, cream, black and sepia washes, pencil, within double ruled and wash border on laid paper backed with wove paper (627 x 980)




J Honig & Zoonen and beehive within cartouche


It is assumed that this is a copy since it is unlikely that Soane embarked on his own reconstruction of the vast Thermae of Diocletian, the central hall of which was converted by Michelangelo into the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. That church was measured and drawn by Soane, with Thomas Hardwick. Hardwick's plan of the Baths of Diocletian (RIBA Drawings Collection, SB60/8) was an enlarged copy from a drawing by James Byres (1734-1817) a Scottish architect resident in Rome. Presumably the same source served for Soane since comparison with Hardwick's drawing shows them to be almost identical. Hardwick added some dimensions to his plan noting that 'The dimensions figured on this Plan were from actual / Admeasurements in 1777 - by Thomas Hardwick - 'Soane re-used the drawing for the fourth of his Royal Academy lectures (IV, drawing 57). Though filed with other of these lecture drawings, the drawing style and Dutch-made drawing paper watermarked with a beehive (shared by several of the measured drawings made 1778-80) indicate a drawing made or copied in Rome. Built A.D. 298-306, the Thermae of Diocletain were the largest of all the ancient Roman baths, covering an area of about 380 by 370 metres.


P.du Prey, J.Lever (editor), Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, volume G-K, 1973, p.932



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).