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Six unexecuted schemes for a villa at Acton: villas A to F, 31 May - 2 August 1800 (46)

Signed and dated

  • 1800
    Main Year


Having bought an empty plot of land in May 1800, Soane was able to design a house for Acton without the physical constraints imposed by a pre-existing building. The design evolution of section 1 begins with a simple compact villa with vestigial wings (which become even smaller in subsequent drawings). Drawings 7 to 17 show the vestigial wings slightly curved (a development from designs Soane had made for Tyringham). The design process elaborates on this, moving through a bombé drawing room and then adding symmetrical projecting porches on both entrance and garden fronts. The later designs show low walls joining these porches to the main body of the house.

There are also two models, corresponding to the later designs from this section, MII46 and MII45. The former appears very similar in design to drawings 41 to 46, although without the low curved walls linking the porch to the main body of the house, or the urns and figurative statues. MII45 is very close to drawing 36.

Soane sold the site to an Acton neighbour, John Winter (Solicitor to the Bank of England) who obligingly took it off Soane’s hands when the latter decided to buy Pitzhanger for £4,000 more than he had paid for the land at Acton (which cost him only £500).

The Acton designs form an important starting point for those for Pitzhanger - although the nature of design was eventually very different, given the constraints of the pre-existing building at Ealing.

Virginia Brilliant's TS Catalogue has been instrumental to the creation of this catalogue.

Matilda Burn 2010



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).  

Contents of Six unexecuted schemes for a villa at Acton: villas A to F, 31 May - 2 August 1800 (46)