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  • image SM 36/2/13

Reference number

SM 36/2/13


[12] Design for the first floor of a new Parliament House


First floor plan


bar scale of 5/9 inch to 1 foot


labelled: (pencil) River Thames, Court, House of Commons, Lobby, House of Lords and some dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • 1734-39

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil and sepia (brown) wash, pricked for transfer within single ruled border on laid paper (374 x 513)


William Kent (1685 - 1748)




The most crucial developments in the first 'Chiswick' plan are that the building is now much smaller (300 by 232 feet), a central atrium with a peristyle has been introduced to improve circulation, and the Cottonian Library and Court of Requests have gone from the design. In this drawing, the shape of the dome is suggested by the internally octagonal plan of the entrance hall, which measures 50 feet square. On either side is a large, geometrical staircase, providing access from the ground level. The House of Lords is a simple rectangle and the House of Commons a Greek cross in plan. Both have a serliana in one wall. However, in pencil, an idea for a rectangular House of Commons with an oval of seating and with two smaller chambers on both the east and west sides has been added.

(Salmon, pp. 339-42)



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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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