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Sir John Soane, R.A. (Goring-on-Thames 1753-1837 London)
Sir John Soane, R.A. (Goring-on-Thames 1753-1837 London)

Plans relating to William Pitt's Holwood House, Kent

Sir John Soane, R.A. (Goring-on-Thames 1753-1837 London)
Plans relating to William Pitt's Holwood House, Kent
variously annotated with room labels and measurements
pencil, pen and brown ink, on paper
23 x 13¾ in. (58.4 x 34.4 cm.) (3)
Sale Room Notice
Please note that these plans relate to Soane's work on Combe House, Gittisham, near Honiton for Raymondo Putt and not as stated in the printed catalogue.

We are grateful to Stephen Astley, Curator of Drawings at the John Soane Museum for providing this information.

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Lot Essay

Between 1786 and 1799 Soane worked on alterations and additions to Holwood House, the country retreat of William Pitt, the Younger (1759-1806), Prime Minister between 1783-1801 and again 1804-6. It was a commission that Soane expended a great deal of time and energy on realizing the importance of having such an influential client and it proved advantageous in obtaining future appointments, including the Bank of England.
Soane's involvement with Holwood can be divided into three distinct phases; the first of these was between 1786-8. The second round of building works were carried out in the mid-1790s and the third phase took place in the late 1790s. This phase was prolonged and ultimately unsuccessful, with years of meetings and two approved designs but no building work actually carried out. The present group of drawings probably relates to this phase. Pitt approved the ambitious alterations in 1798, which comprised a re-faced front entrance and additional offices and an eating room around a central courtyard and a new principal staircase. Estimates for building works were obtained but the scheme stalled. Soane presented another design in 1799, showing refinements to his earlier design, as well as significant alterations to the existing building, which were again approved and estimates obtained, but again work did not progress. Pitt did not have the funds required to carry out the alterations.
Pitt sold Holwood in 1802 and in 1823 the house was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Decimus Burton. The only parts of Soane's work to survive are parts of the brick-vaulted cellar and an original mahogany door.

We are grateful to Stephen Astley, Helen Dorey and Susan Palmer and the rest of the team at the Sir John Soane's Museum, London for all their assistance with the group of 18th and 19th century architectural drawings and designs.

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