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  • image Image 1 for SM 57/8/17
  • image Image 2 for SM 57/8/17
  • image Image 1 for SM 57/8/17
  • image Image 2 for SM 57/8/17

Reference number

SM 57/8/17


Measured drawings of Reichenau bridge


1 (recto) Rough longitudinal half-section of the span, longitudinal section through the abutment and 2 cross sections; (verso) Half-elevation and cross section


1 recto (of span) Roof. Great waste of timber - & no Iron / The whole of the framg of this bridge is exceedingly / rude, & very great want of Iron / y.y. Iron bars abt 2/3 long & only one Inch Sq. / the timber not squared, but simply laid / Exceedingly decay'd, several of the Prin[cipals] split. / it is sunk & twisted exceedingly in many difft directions / Bridge. 6 miles before you arrive at Coira; labelled No iron &c, No Iron & in conseq[uence] risen, Roof, board, Wood floor, Boardg, Iron wh runs thro' each Principle, lettered N, M, Z, F, D, B, and y but without a key, dimensions given
1 verso Sunk & twisted so much as to be entirely sup[porte]d by the Buttress, Boardg with thick board & covered with thin wood shingles, Centre, level of Grd,Ro[ugh] Stone / wall, Shingles, Vertl and Wood

Medium and dimensions

Pen and pencil on laid secretary paper (307 x 412)




bunch of grapes


As the exhibition catalogue on Swiss wooden bridges (2003, p.903) points out, the longitudinal section is drawn from the inside and, with the other sections, concentrates on the two types of uprights: 'hang posts supporting the lower beam, with the struts resting against them' and a simpler upright.

With a 70 metre span, the bridge was built by Johannes Grubenmann around 1757.


P.du Prey, John Soane's architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.325-6; P.du Prey, 'Eighteenth-century English sources for a history of Swiss wooden bridges', Zeitschrift fur schweizerische Archaologie und Kunstgeschichte, XXXVI, 1979, pp.56-7; 'John Soane and the wooden bridges of Switzerland. Architecture and the culture of technology from Palladio to the Grubenmanns', Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio, exhibition catalogue, 2003, p.90



Exhibition history

John Soane and the wooden bridges of Switzerland. Architecture and the culture of technology from Palladio to the Grubenmanns, Archivio del Moderno, Mendrisio, 11 May - 30 June 2002; Centro Palladio, Vicenza, 11 July - 3 November 2002; S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum, Basel, 16 November 2002 - 2 February 2003; Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 14 February - 19 April 2003

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).