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Alternative designs, and record drawing, for a (hunting) casino, c. 1780 (4)

'Casino' (Italian for little house). A compact house of the villa type usually sited in the grounds of a country house.

Soane's interest in the reduced villa form of the 'casino' was a continuing one. In a chronological order of the known designs, Soane published a plan and elevation (58 feet wide) for a 'Hunting Casine' in his Designs in architecture (plate xxix) in 1778. du Prey (1982, pp.270, 383 fn. 9) writes of a design dated October 1779 that Soane presented to the Accademia de Belle Arti, Florence (not yet located). The rough elevation for a casino (SM 45/2/7 verso) made on the verso of a copy of a measured drawing was probably made in early May 1780. In August 1780, Soane drew a rough plan and two elevations (about 70 feet wide) for a casino while staying at Downhill, Northern Ireland (Sketchbooks catalogue: 'Downhill' 1780-1, (SM volume 80) note/sketchbook, f.4). In 1781, Soane exhibited a design (plan 55 by 55 feet) for a 'hunting casine' at the Royal Academy (SM 45/3/6). A record drawing made after 1784 is a copy of a plan (36 by 47 feet) for a casino made earlier.

The results of Soane's concern with compact planning and with the bombé front found in his casino designs can be seen in some of his early commissions. Soane's continuing interest is also evident in, for example, a plan and elevation for a 'Hunting Casine' with a bowed loggia and a front 55 feet wide, published in his Sketches in architecture (1793, plates plates xxxviii, xxxvix). For a casino design in his later publication Designs for public and private buildings (1832) see note to M 45/3/5. M 45/1/24, an elevation 82 feet wide, might be better described as for a 'villa' but it has been catalogued in the past (Concise Catalogue, q.v.) as a 'casino' and it does relate to the other designs.

Literature. P.du Prey, John Soane: the making of an architect, 1982, pp.269-76