Past Exhibitions

Buildings in Progress: Soane’s Views of Construction

2 November 1995 - 9 March 1996

This exhibition presents a selection of drawings which illustrate an activity unique to John Soane's architectural office - the practice of making views of buildings under construction.

Soane recognized the need for schools that would teach the architect the principles and practice of construction, but until the buildings were constructed he advised his architectural students to study progress on site. His students made 'progress views' of Soane's buildings so that they would learn the principles of construction as well as observing the effects of light and shade in making the drawings.

Several of these views were redrawn by Soane for public display at his Royal Academy Lectures. It was a new step to present the structure of a building laid bare as a work in progress unlike the more conventional pictorial views of finished buildings.

The exhibition shows three of Soane's best buildings at different stages of construction: The Bank of England, Chelsea Hospital and Dulwich Picture Gallery.