Catalogue of the Drawings of George Dance the Younger (1741-1825) and of George Dance the Elder (1695-1768): From the Collection of Sir John Soane's Museum
George Dance (1741-1825) was a pioneering architect who designed the first Neo-Classical building in England (All Hallows, London Wall) as well as the first Indian-style elevation (the City of London's Guildhall), introduced the circus and crescent to London town planning, invented the ammonite capital, designed a prototype art gallery and made early use of structural iron and other technical innovations. As architect to the City of London and a founding member of the Royal Academy, Dancewas an establishment figure and yet was considered by his contemporaries as a 'poet architect' who spoke of an 'Architecture unshackled'. The designs at the Soane Museum include drawings made during Dance's six years in Rome, designs for churches, monuments, prisons, a major hospital, town houses and country houses as well as an art gallery, bank, law court, library, museum, and anatomy theatre. His important role as a town planner and structural innovator is well illustrated and so is his skill as decorator and even garden designer. Dance's eloquent buildings, which include the strikingly austere Newgate Prison, as well as his use of daylight, canopy domes, stripped forms and decoration had a powerful influence on his protege John Soane, who acquired his master's drawings in 1836. They remain in Sir John Soane's Museum, an invaluable record of an exceptional architect. The catalogue also includes the drawings of the elder George Dance (1695-1768), architect to the City of London for more than 40 years. His major building, the Mansion House, is unusually well documented and is catalogued here by Sally Jeffery.
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