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  • image SM 45/1/30

Reference number

SM 45/1/30


Design made for presentation, 3 February 1785


2 Plan and four wall elevations/sections


bar scale of 1/5 in to 1 ft (approximately)


The Plan and Section of a Library / designed for / The Right Hon.ble the Lord Camelford

Signed and dated

  • J Soane Archt.t, Margaret Street and Feb.y 3.d 1785

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia, light green, pale blue, burnt sienna, yellow and pink washes, shaded within black double-ruled and wash border on laid paper (440 x 567)


Robert Baldwin (fl.1782-1804) ?



J Whatman, fleur-de-lis above cartouche with bar and below, ornate W


Approximately 50 feet long by 20 feet wide, the room has a plain, shallow barrel-vaulted ceiling. The long window wall has three round-arched French windows with a round-arched bookcase on either side flanked by Corinthian columns. Opposite, a chimney-piece with an Adamesque round-arched mirror above it, is flanked by a wide bookcase and then a round-arched one. One end wall has two doors and three gilt frames for pictures and the other has a single gilded frame. The colour scheme shows the walls as a light green (terre verte) with festoon blinds in a pinkish-brown material above each window. The frieze has bucrania and festoons against a pale pink background. Between the windows, and reflected in wall mirrors, a pair of candelabra are held aloft by draped female figures on strigilated pedestals. The room may relate to the larger of the three rooms marked 'library' on drawing 1 though the special access via the garden has been omitted.
Carefully made with, for example, each volume on the bookshelves individually delineated, the drawing is likely to have been made for presentation. The inscription is probably by Robert Baldwin and, in any case, not by Soane or, for example, George Dance. Dated 3 February 1785, it may have been one of 'the Plans' sent with a covering letter from Thomas Pitt, Lord Camelford to Sir Joseph Banks (Honorary Secretary to the Society of Dilettanti) on 7 February 1785. (SM Priv.Corr.IV.P.2.1)


P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.237-44



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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