Plans · Elevations · And · Sections · Of · Buildings · Executed · In · The · Counties · Of · Norfolk · Suffolk · Yorkshire · Staffordshire · Warwickshire · Hertfordshire · Et · Caetera · By · Iohn · Soane · Architect · Member · Of · The · Royal · Academies · Of · Parma · And · Florence ·

Sir John Soane RA

RA Collection: Book

Record number




· London ·: MDCCLXXXVIII ·, · Published · By · Messrs. · Taylor · At · The · Architectural · Library · Holborn ·

Physical Description

[6], 11, [35] p., 47 pl.; 534 mm. (Folio)

General Note

In early issues plate 44 is misnumbered as 43.


[Dedication] - List of Subscribers - Introduction - Table of Contents - [47 plates, with notes].

Responsibility Note

No plate is signed by draughtsman or engraver.

Each carries I. and J. Taylor's publication line.

The work is dedicated by John Soane to the King, in gratitude for the King's enabling him to finish his studies in Italy (1778-1780).


ESTC, T101996
RIBA, Early printed books, 4 (2001), no. 3098
E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books (1990), 842
J. Archer, Literature of British domestic architecture (1985), 319.1.
General studies of Soane include Hooked on books: the library of Sir John Soane, by E. Harris and N. Savage [exhibition catalogue] (2004)
D. Watkin, Sir John Soane: enlightenment thought and the Royal Academy lectures (1996)
P. de la Ruffiniere Du Prey, John Soane (1982).

Summary Note

Although the publication-date of 1788 is carried by title page, dedication and introduction, all plates carry the date of January 1789.

Each group of plates is preceded by a page of explanation. The buildings shown are: Shottisham, Norfolk; Malvern-Hall, Warwickshire; Letton-Hall, Norfolk; Chillington, Staffordshire; Tendring-Hall, Suffolk; Langley-Park, Norfolk; Ryston-Hall, Norfolk; Skelton-Castle, Yorkshire; Mulgrave-Hall, Yorkshire; Burn-Hall, Durham; Villa near Hockerill; Oulton, Suffolk; Villa intended for W. Tollemache; Parsonage at Saxlingham; Black-Friars Bridge, Norwich; Dairy at Hammels, Hertfordshire; Earsham, Suffolk; Museum designed for the Dilettanti Society, London.

This, Soane's second publication, differs from his earlier Designs in architecture (1778) both by showing mostly executed designs for substantial country houses, and by introducing them with a statement of his philosophy of architecture. He quotes at length from earlier writers both to affirm the importance of architecture and to emphasise the necessity of not copying ancient buildings in a servile manner but so as to 'catch the spirit of them'. Ornament should 'shew the destination of the edifice' and 'assist in determining its character'. He allows that Gothic buildings 'excite solemn, serious and contemplative ideas'; and concludes by stating that the architect must adapt every design to its own 'situation' and consider the 'different ideas of convenience, comfort and elegance' of his clients. His designs reflect the contemporary taste for informal residences. But he allows himself one departure from Neoclassical simplicity in his design for a 'dairy' (pl. 44), where a thatched roof is combined with a Doric pediment and a central relief-sculpture of a cow.


The Royal Academy is listed among the subscribers. See RA Cashbook 1769-1795, Nov. 1789: 'Soanes to Taylor £2: 12s. 6d.'

Copy Note

With plate 44 misnumbered as 43 and a second copy of plate 38 bound in before plate 47.

Binding Note

Contemporary marbled-papered boards; rebacked and recornered with 20th-century calf; spine lettered 'Soanes Plans & Elevations Of Buildings'.

Name as Subject


Architecture, British - Country houses - Bridges - Museums - Great Britain - History - 18th century
Plans - Elevations - Sections - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century