By 1800 Soane had built himself a successful career, inherited a fortune, gained a young family and built his own town house at No. 12 Lincoln's Inn Fields. The next thing he wanted was a house in the country – to confirm his position in society and to provide space for his ever expanding collection of art and artefacts. He first bought a plot of land at Acton, early in 1800.
Perspective of the entrance front
Joseph Michael Gandy
Pen and coloured washes on paper, framed
XP14 (Pitzhanger drawing 95)
The drawing shows the entrance front of Soane's proposed new villa and was made before construction to show what the design would look like in perspective and in use. To add to the effect imaginary visitors are included, admiring the house and grounds. Dance's wing can still be seen on the left (the only remnant of the old house).
As shown, Soane's alterations included moving the drive, so that the house was approached from a picturesque angle. Its entrance front was articulated by columns, and by statues based on the caryatids from the Erechtheion in Athens. The central lantern is a particularly Soanean device for lighting interior spaces – in this case the attic and vestibule.