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  • image SM (16) 11/3/16

Reference number

SM (16) 11/3/16


Preparatory sketch for Royal Academy lecture drawings, 1807


16 Perspective from south-east on Princes Street

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia wash on wove paper (265 x 423)


Soane office


Drawing 16 appears to be a preparatory sketch for two Royal Academy lecture drawings dated September and October 1807 (SM 12/4/2-3). Soane was the RA's Professor of Architecture from 1806-37. He used these drawings of the New Bank Buildings to illustrate his point about round-headed windows in Lecture 9:

'Windows and doors with semi-circular heads can only be placed, with propriety, under vaulted ceilings. Harmony and analogy both require a straight line under a straight line, and a curved line under a curved line.
'Doors and windows with circular heads, although inadmissible with the orders of architecture, yet they are very frequently used in simple fronts, sometimes in each storey of the building, and sometimes they are confined to the ground floor only' (transcribed from D. Watkin, Sir John Soane: Enlightenment Thought and the Royal Academy Lectures, 1996, p. 612).



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).