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  • image Image 1 for SM 79/1/13
  • image Image 2 for SM 79/1/13
  • image Image 1 for SM 79/1/13
  • image Image 2 for SM 79/1/13

Reference number

SM 79/1/13


Measured drawings of Schaffhausen and Wettingen bridges


4 (recto) Longitudinal section of the main span in 2 parts of Schaffhausen bridge and detail of junction of post, beam and floor of Wettingen bridge; (verso) Longitudinal half-section of one span of Wettingen bridge with details of plate and wedge; elevation of Schaffhausen bridge, longitudinal section of the 2d or lesser Arch of Schauffhausen bridge, (pencil) cross section, and rough plans showing access to bridge (see also 3 verso) labelled


4 (recto) (of longitudinal section) Schauffhausen, Purloin Roof very high & well timber'd to keep the sides steady - Shakes very much, From here the direction of the top & bottom plate is a little / changed but still tends to the Center of the Pier, R.R.R. Let into Uprights / A. middle of the great Arch, B. One continued rakg line / B. to C. Still rakg [raking] to the Center but the dirn [direction] a little / changed, lettered A, B, C, F, O, P and R but without a key, labelled Wall, Floor, furthest End, Water, Parall.[el], Middle of Pier, Middle of Stone Pier, Middle of Great Arch and dimensions given; (of detail of junction) Weltingen (sic), This beam runs / strait thro', Beam of floor, 3 In. Pieces to raise the floor, Oak 10 by 14, Oak 10 by 12, the Arch in 7 pieces of fir, lettered K and dimensions given

Sund Monday / May 29th 1780 Came by water from Vesey to Zurich 14 hrs Boat exp[en]ses cost 36s En. with / 3 men ... passed a bridge at 3 or 4 miles from Vesey the same construction as the first near Coira / at Raperswil the lake is very shallow & a bridge with piles runs across at least one / mile in length, in the middle of the Bridge a little chapel, much out of repair - / the mountains on each side of the lake highly cultivated with Corn, Vineyards &c & much / Wood, the whole most delightfully variegated -

Zurich Monday Night. At l'Épee, the dinner a french Crown, the rooms 4 livres each / lay there - the river at the end of the lake runs thro' & divides the town, the prison stands / in the middle of it, several Bridges over it, one cover'd but with stone piers & wooden / superstructure, agreed for a Coach & 4 horses to carry the Baggage to Basle 3 1/2
(?) Louis / & 3 Horses to Schauffhausen 1 1/2 L & 3 livres for the man -

Tuesday Morng May 30 Left Zurich to go to Schauff. by the way of Weltingen / Weltingen is abt 12 miles from Z & S 24 miles from W... the road to Welt / wonderfully
(sic) the plains, the mountains rather low ^ Villages, & Villas scattered abt outside shutters painted G[reen] & white plaister but every where cultivated with / Corn, meadow Gr[as]s - fine Vineyards & Woods, the dung placed on the land in little hillocks / as in England, & an air of content amongst the Peasantry - the day wonderfully / fine, & the Bridge of W. beyond each Idea I had form'd of it contribute to / make all things agreeable - stay'd some hours at / W. to measure the Bridge, & came on to Kaither - - - - [illegible, Kaiserstuhl ?] / dined here, fine country - here for the first time observed / something like an order of Arch. applied to a Gallows / w[hic]h are very numerous as also the Crosses, the Women / have the hair plaited in two Queues behind with a / long black string to each wh reaches to the Grd. - / set out from Z. at 6 arrived at Schauff. at 7 - / Le Couronne is not a bad one - paid 2s Sup[per] & 2s Chamber / Schauffhausen May 31 1780

4 (verso) (of Wettingen bridge) Weltingen (sic) May 30th 1780 / A. Upright of Oak morticed thro' the Plate B. / Shakes very much. / Light & Airy, very high Roof / Lattice Gate at each end, pay toll. Very well put together & no want of Iron &c cover'd with Wood Shingle on Boards / F to G. Go down & let into a plate agst / the upright wall, These timbers pass between the two uprights & are let into each abt 1 Inch on a side, another behind let into 2d up., another behind 10 Sq., this beam lays nearly strait but the floor is circular & raised with middle abt 18" higher than top of this Beam, Boarded outside, Middle / of Arch, Water, Floor, lettered A, B, C, D, E, K (no key) and dimensions given; (of details) This plate resists the thrust of M & passes / between the two uprights / Conseq. the front / Upright is a little / higher and Oak Wedge 1 Inch Sq.
(of Schaffhausen bridge) Schauffhausen, the 2d or lesser Arch, Much fram. in the Roof / as usual more than necessary, Water, Pier, Stone, Grd and dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • as above (29-31 May 1780)

Medium and dimensions

Pen and pencil on on laid secretary paper (463 x 379)




post horn within crowned cartouche and C & I Honig below, and C & I Honig


The bridges at Schaffhausen (1756-8)and Wettingen (1765-6) were the major works of Hans Ulrich Grubenmann. In this and the preceding drawings, Soane consistently omits the parts (such as the roof of Reichenau bridge) that he considers superfluous or unsuccessful and concentrates on the essential structure.


P.du Prey, John Soane's architectural education 1753-80, 1977, pp.328-331; '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, pp.94-5



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

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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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