William Chambers (1723-1796)
Design (section) presentation drawing for Marylebone Parish Church London
Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour
Museum no. 3363
This drawing is a design for a church by the British architect Sir William Chambers showing a section through a domed neo-classical interior. It was commissioned in 1770 and was intended as the parish church of St Marylebone, just north of Oxford Street, London. The architect designed two schemes, one with a spire and one with a dome. This image shows the more expensive domed option. This kind of 'section' drawing, where the building appears to have been cut in half, is still used by architects today. Colour is used to indicate which walls have been 'cut through' and to describe the space behind. A range of drawings was produced for this project, from rough sketches to detailed plans. This is a highly finished 'presentation drawing' and would have been shown to clients to convince them of the beauty of the scheme and the skill of the architect. However, in this instance it was not enough. The clients proved so indecisive that the church was built only in 1818, to a subsequent architect's design.
William Chambers was the greatest official architect of his day. Born in Sweden he trained in Paris and Italy, and settled in England. He was appointed Architect to the King and his style was based on English Palladianism. His Treatise on Civil Architecture became an influential work.
This drawing can be found in Print Room Box 10B.