Understanding Architectural Drawings

Learning from Drawing

In this section we see how Soane’s pupils and assistants learnt from drawing. We see a young architect measuring one of the great Roman temples and we see how, in England, the art of perspective developed in the sixteenth century and the kind of books from which one could learn about architectural design and perspective. Lastly we see one of Soane’s pupils drawing on site to record and learn about the process of construction.

Collections | Understanding Arch. Drawings | Learning from Drawing
Pupil at work in Dulwich Mausoleum

Pupil at work in Dulwich Mausoleum

Vol. 81/23

Soane’s pupils were sometimes sent out (usually on foot) to see the buildings being built and make drawings to record the progress. This also helped the pupils learn about design, construction and the play of light in a building. This drawing was made in 1812. Note that the pupil has made a bench and drawing table out of two planks on a trestle. He has even covered the bench with his handkerchief to protect his white trousers.

They had instructions to study the contrast between the dark mausoleum and the light of the Gallery carefully. At this stage the building was unfinished, the bare brick is still to be plastered and decorated. Dulwich Picture Gallery was designed by Soane between 1811 and 1817 and is one of the earliest and most important purpose-built art galleries in the world. It still has the collection of paintings it was designed to house.