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  • image SM volume 111/68

Reference number

SM volume 111/68


Preparatory design for a gate pier, probably for Hamstead Marshall




5 feet to 2 ¾ inches (drawn scale, partly cut off)


In pencil by Pearce (?) with dimensions of inches, vertically, on left, 14, 13, and horizontally above the base of the niche, 9, 6, 2 [feet], 6, 9; and vertically on right edge, near middle, 2, and lower down, adding numbers of feet, 1 / 1 / 2 / 4; and in pen and brown ink with numbers of scale bar, 10, 15 (part cut off)

Signed and dated

  • c.1673-75

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over pencil under drawing; on laid paper, trimmed down to edges of design, 350 x 106.


Edward Pearce


None visible


The gate pier measures 6 feet wide on the scale, but the pencil annotations call for a reduction to 4 feet. A calculation down the right-hand edge adds up the numbers 1, 1 and 2, to make 4. These refer to the widths in inches and feet inscribed across the gate pier. The gate pier for Hamstead Marshall recorded in the design in the photograph at the R.C.H.M.E. is about 5 feet wide. It has a foliated panel in the centre instead of a pier mass with a niche, and a taller vase that expands rather than narrows towards the top. This could be an early preparatory design.The scale bar at the bottom extended beyond the left-hand edge of the trimmed sheet. The horizontal pen shading and the loose sketching of fruit and foliage are paralleled in several drawings by Pearce for details of masonry ornaments at St Paul's Cathedral in the late 1670s (see G. Higgott, 'The Revised Design for St Paul's Cathedral: Wren, Hawksmoor and Les Invalides', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 146 (August 2004), p. 537). If not for Hamstead Marshall, then it is likely to be a design for another monumental gate pier in the mid-1670s.


Wren Society, XVII, pl. 27, bottom



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