Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [1] Design


  • Image Not Yet Available

Reference number

SM 81/2/54


[1] Design


Plan of Chimney Piece, Elevation of Chimney Piece and detail of Entablature to Chimney Piece full size


bar scale of ¼ inch to 1 foot and full size


as above, Monsr Caillone / Piccadillyand dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • Gt Scotland Yard / Octr 31 1791

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia wash, shaded on thin wove paper (539 x 336)


Soane office


Charles Alexandre, Vicomte de Calonne (1734-1802) was Controller-General of Finances from 1783 to 1787 and has been blamed, perhaps unfairly, for the financial crisis that led to the French Revolution of 1789. Exiled in 1787 Calonne lived in London until 1802 when he received permission from Napoleon Bonaparte to return to France. He died soon after.
The very unusual chimney-piece is shaped like a pier table to stand against a wall or, it could be said, to resemble a porch. The dimensions read: 5' 2" wide by 1' 10" deep with the bases to each leg 4¼ sqr (square). The plan is segmental with four tapering legs, two fluted and two plain, offering an alternative treatment. Acanthus capitals, a waterleaf and dart moulding and three bands of balls ornament the legs and the 'entablature'. Its Frenchified design is a reminder not only that it was commissioned by a Frenchman but - in some of the details such as the legs - that Soane once worked (from 1772 to 1778) for the stylistically Francophile Henry Holland (1745-1806).
See also the Soane Museum's online book catalogue for books bought by Soane from Calonne's library after the great sale of 1793. These are not architectural and (all in French) are mostly literature.

Jill Lever, January 2013



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).