Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Drawing made for exhibition at the Royal Academy, April 1784


  • image Image 1 for SM 13/4/7 ex-framed P393
  • image Image 2 for SM 13/4/7 ex-framed P393
  • image Image 1 for SM 13/4/7 ex-framed P393
  • image Image 2 for SM 13/4/7 ex-framed P393

Reference number

SM 13/4/7 ex-framed P393


Drawing made for exhibition at the Royal Academy, April 1784


1 SECTION OF A BVILDING / PROPOSED AS A MVSEUM FOR THE / DILETTANTI SOCIETY (inscribed with sans serif lettering on a trompe l'oeil tablet with lugs fixed by two nails)


(feint pencil) bar scale of 1/16 in to 1 ft (plans), section to a larger scale


as above, Plan / of the / Ground Floor labelled (in small serif caps) Hereford Street, Keeper, Passage and three rooms labelled Library, two XX by XXX and the third LII feet by XX Feet; Plan / of the / Principal Story and Council Chamber / XIX by XVI, Anti, Museum (three times) LII feet by XX feet, (twice) XX by XXX

Signed and dated

  • (small sans serif caps) I Soane Archt and April MDCCLXXXIV

Medium and dimensions

Pen, sepia and buff washes, shaded and with quadruple ruled pen and wash border on laid paper with some newsprint backing, mostly removed (478 x 690)


Robert Baldwin (fl.1762-1804) ; ? George Dance (1741-1825)


J Whatman


The drawing is attributed to Robert Baldwin; the sculpture may have been drawn by Dance - he was better at figure drawing than either Baldwin or Soane. The use of sans serif lettering is first found in Soane's designs for a British Senate House, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1779 and drawn and lettered by an ? Italian hand (q.v.).
Exhibited at the Royal Academy in the Spring of 1784, the drawing is in a fragile state through old water and other damage. It was engraved as plates 46-7 in Soane's Plans, elevations and sections of buildings (1788). Titled 'A Building proposed as a Musem for the Dilettanti Society', Soane explained that 'This design was to apply two unfinished houses in Hereford-Street, adjoining Camelford-House, to the accommodation of the Dilettanti Society; it was the intention of the noble owner, the Right Honorable Thomas Lord Camelford, to have presented them to the Society for the public advantage, but, on consideration, the members thought their finances unequal to such an establishment, the idea was therefore relinquished.' The engraved plans are for the ground floor with three library rooms connected by two doors and a 'Keepers Parlour' while the first floor has three museum compartments (of the same dimensions as the library) and a 'Council Chamber'. The 'interior view of part of the museum' is a section through the principal floor showing a screen composed of two fluted (Ionic in the drawing, Corinthian in the engraving) columns either side of a large alcove with an equestrian statue on a plinth behind which is the stair. On the walls, aedicules flanked by pedestals display sculpted figures and overhead are barrel vaulted ceilings.


P. du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.11-12, 237-9, 243



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).