Sir John Soane's Museum Drawings

Shotesham was an important commission for Soane.  It was only the second time that he had been asked to design an entire house and its offices rather than making alterations and additions to an existing one (Letton Hall, Norfolk, q.v., was the first).    It may explain why he produced a number of different designs though a demanding client is perhaps another reason.  Unusually, some of these not-as-executed designs occur towards the end of the building phase andare probably connected with the publication of  Soane’s Plans, elevations and sections of buildings erected in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk…, 1788 (1789). The book has three plates with different or varying designs for Shotesham , only one (plate 1, plan) of which is an executed design.  Among the drawings catalogued here nearly half are for unexecuted designs.

Soane's Journal No 1 records that he made his first visit to site on 26 September 1784 and in October 1785 'Nine Drawings of House & Offices' were sent. Possibly those were drawings 1-9 catalogued here.  Three of these drawings are variant designs for the principal two-storey elevation.  The plan is a rectangle with a projecting short west wing and a longer east wing that includes some of the domestic offices.  Drawing 10 is a five-bay revision of the seven-bay east front of drawing 5 suggesting a revised plan for the house though without the attic storey that was eventually added.  Then follow undated alternative or variant  designs (drawings 11-13) of which drawing 11 has a rectangular plan with an ‘Arcade leading to the Kitchen Offices’ while drawing 12 has the square U-plan of the adopted design though with a circular stair and superfluous porticos to the side elevations that relates it to plate 2 of Soane’s published designs.  Drawing 13 has a square U-plan while the elevation shows an attic storey with (unexecuted) dormer windows.  Drawings 18 and 19 are variant designs for a five-bay or seven-bay house with pavilions close to plate 2 of Soane’s Plans, elevations and sections…, 1788 (1789).  Drawing 20 is close to the executed design and to plate 1 of Soane’s publication; the design of the heads to the door and windows of the entrance elevation varies both in drawings 20 and again in plate 1; the executed design was much the best solution.

Soane’s Journal No1 records drawings sent from 1785 to 1789; the measuring of mason’s and plasterer’s work is recorded in Journal No2 (1792), alterations to the existing library are mentioned in entries for 1792-3.  On 23 January 1794, £310 was ‘Recd in full for all demands’ and that must have marked the completion of Soane’s work at Shotesham.  In 1999, Ptolemy Dean wrote that Shottesham was 'One of Soane's best preserved and most complete estates' (op.cit. p.171).


Soane largely re-used his design for the principal elevation of Shotesham for the re-facing (in stone) of Piercefield,  a country house  in Gwent (q.v.). Soane was not diffident about re-using his designs whether for mouldings, cornices, windows or, as here, a whole façade.


There are 88 drawings for Shotesham Park from Soane, dated November 1784 to October 1792 (FEL 1115) in the Norfolk Record Office, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2DQ (http://archives.norfolk.gov.uk).


 Literature   D.Watkin, ‘Shotesham Park, Norfolk’, Country Life, 10 August 1967, pp.312-6; D. Stroud, Sir John Soane architect, 2nd ed., 1996, pp.129-30; P. Dean, Sir John Soane and the country house, 1999,pp.171-2

 

Jill Lever, May-June 2011

 

Reference Number:

SM (1) 28/6/5 (2) 28/6/6 (3)28/6/7 (4) 28/6/9 (5) 28/6/8

Purpose:

Three variant (presentation) designs for the south (entrance) front and (presentation) designs for the west front and east front respectively, c. October 1785 (5)    


Aspect:

1 N/ The Elevation of the Entrance Front

2 N2 / The Elevation of the Entrance Front

N3The Elevation of the Entrance Front

4 The Elevation of the West Front

5 Elevation of the East Front 

Hand:

1-5 Soane











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Reference Number:

SM (6) 28/6/1 (7) 28/6/4 (8) 28/6/2 (9) 28/6/3

Purpose:

Designs (presentation plans) related to 'No 1' elevation, one dated 18 October 1785, another (added later) 30 March 1786 (4)

Aspect:

6 Plan of the ground floor and of the stables with brewhouse/bakehouse and dairy 

The Plan of the Basement Story

8 Plan of the Chamber Floor

9 Plan of the Mezzanine Story &c / 9 feet high 

Hand:

Soane









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Reference Number:

SM (10) 28/6/10

Purpose:

Design for a reduced east wing

Aspect:

10 Elevation with running dimensions of the East Front, Shottisham

Hand:

Soane



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Reference Number:

SM (11) volume 66/71 (12) 28/6/14

Purpose:

Alternative intermediate designs for a house (2)    

Aspect:

11 Record copy of an Elevation of the Entrance Front with an attic storey and Plan of the Principal Floor

12 (Bailey) Design for the Principal Floor of Shottisham Norfolk for R. Fellowes Esqre

Hand:

(11) office (12) John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)





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Reference Number:

SM (13) volume 66/72

Purpose:

Record copy of an alternative design for a house with a square U-plan and a three-bay front with dormer windows   

Aspect:

13 Plan and elevation

Hand:

office



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Reference Number:

SM (14) 80/1/10 recto and verso  (15) 28/6/16 recto and verso

Purpose:

Working drawings for the stonework, September 1787 - January 1788 (2)    

Aspect:

14 Details of Cornice to North Elevation, Finishings for the Chimney Shafts, Cornice to South, West & East Fronts  (verso) elevation of attic storey with pediment and details of pediment and Cornice to the Attic Story A / at Shottisham ½ full size, A Copy

 

15 Elevation / of the East Front with wall plan and (verso) full size details of Cornice to Attic Story / at Shottisham

Hand:

(14 recto) John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90) (14 verso) ? John McDonnell (pupil 18 March 1786-91)   (15) Soane









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Reference Number:

SM (16) 28/6/17 (17) 28/6/18 

Purpose:

Working drawings, c. March 1788 (2)  

Aspect:

16 Plan of the Principal Floor

17 Plan of the Garretts or / rooms in the roof and verso (Soane, pencil) Plan of? Partition to Bow Room

 

 

Hand:

(16-17) Soane 





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Reference Number:

SM (18) 28/6/13 (19) 28/6/12

Purpose:

Variant designs for a five-bay house and a seven-bay house, each of three storeys with pavilion wings, perhaps made for publication, c. April to September 1788 (2)

Aspect:

18 Elevation of the Entrance Front of Shottisham, Norfolk, the Seat of Robert Felllowes Esqre

19 Elevation of a Design for the Entrance Front of Shottisham near Norwich the Seat of Robert Fellowes Esqre

Hand:

18-19 ? John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)





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Reference Number:

SM (20) 28/6/11

Purpose:

 Design, almost as executed, 29 January 1789

Aspect:

20 Elevation of Entrance Front

Hand:

John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)



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Reference Number:

SM (21) 77/4/8

Purpose:

Working drawing, as executed, for the ground floor windows, 23 January 1789

Aspect:

21 Elevation of Window to Entrance Front  and (verso) feint pencil detail of carpentry joint

Hand:

John McDonnell (12 February 1786-1791) / Soane



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Reference Number:

SM (22) 28/6/21

Purpose:

Working drawing for the Finishings to the Eating Room at Shottisham, 16 June 1789

Aspect:

22 Plan, laid out wall elevations/sections and details of mouldings

Hand:

 

John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)

 



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Reference Number:

SM (23) 28/6/19 (24) 28/6/15 (25) 28/6/20

Purpose:

Designs for the library, 1789 (3)

Aspect:

23 Plan, laid out wall elevations, Profile of / Console to Support / table of Marble, with explanation of Finishings to Library

 

24 Plan and laid out wall elevations with pencil details of joinery; (verso, Soane) rough pencil details for column, and egg and dart moulding with a few calculations

 

25 Plan and laid out wall elevations

Hand:

(23-25) John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)







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Reference Number:

SM (26) 77/3/54 (7) 77/3/52 (28) 77/3/53

Purpose:

Record copies of working drawings for the library, 23 October 1789 (3)

Aspect:

26 Elevation of Bookcases at the end of Library, Elevation of Bookcases to the East / end of Library and two Plan[s]  (verso, pencil))  unfinished part-plan not related to Shotesham

 

27 Full size details of Moldings to the upper part of Bookcases / in Library

 

28 Full size details of mouldings to the lower part of the bookcases

Hand:

26-28 John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)







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Reference Number:

SM (29) 28/6/23 (30) 28/6/22

Purpose:

Record copies of working drawings for the staircase, 18 December 1789 - 20 February 1790 (2)

Aspect:

29 Ground floor plan of Best Staircase, Lobby, Covered Way and Necessary, Section from A to B and Section from C to D

30 Plan, wall elevations and details of mouldings (verso, pencil) incomplete full size details of mouldings

Hand:

29-30 John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)





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Reference Number:

SM (31) 28/6/24 (32) 8/5/17

Purpose:

Record copies of working drawings for fitting out the kitchen, 18 December 1789-20 February 1790 (2)

Aspect:

31  Plan and laid out wall elevations for the Finishings to Kitchen at Shottisham

32  Plan and perspectival elevation of a kitchen range  

Hand:

(31-32) John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)

 







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Reference Number:

SM (33) 81/1/28

Purpose:

Record copy of design for a chimney-piece, 20 February 1790

Aspect:

33 Plan of Chimney Piece,  Elevation of Chimney Piece and details of Moldings to Chimney / Piece full size

Hand:

 

John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)

 



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Reference Number:

SM (34) 8/5/11

Purpose:

Record copy of design for a chair, 12 August 1790

Aspect:

34 Plan of the Chair, Elevations of the front of the Chair, Elevation of the side of the Chair and Perspective View of the Chair

Hand:

John Sanders (pupil 1 September 1784-90)



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