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Reference number

SM 81/1/25 verso


[16] Preliminary design for the Great Hall or saloon and entrance hall


Section through the domed saloon (to the left) and entrance hall with first floor over


Signed and dated

  • 1788 - 1789
    Datable to c 1788-1789 in accord with the other drawings in this group

Medium and dimensions

Pencil on laid paper (486 x 645)


SOANE, Sir John (1754--1837), architect


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


On the verso of a finished design for a chimneypiece for Fonthill Splendens Soane's rapidly drawn section shows his proposal for re-modelling the medieval Great Hall/saloon. To overcome the difficulties of its hemmed-in site, Soane proposed top lighting the large room by a canopy dome with skylight. Plate 16 of Soane's Plans, elevations and sections of buildings erected in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk ..., 1788 (1789) is a 'Section of the Great Room' reproduces a finished design with a canopy dome that relates to this drawing. Ptolemy Dean has shown (Country Life, 30 September 1999, p.84) that the timber support for a canopy dome was built but instead a more conventional saucer dome was carried out. The drawing also shows the existing poorly-lit first floor corridor which was eventually to be top-lit with a pair of smaller, canopy domes that were executed (see drawing 19).


see below



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.

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).