Study for a two-storey west front with a giant, six-column portico

Simon Gribelin1685

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral

A neatly drawn but incomplete elevation of a two-storey west front with a giant, six-column portico. Implied scale is just over 10 ft to 1 inch; 10 ft = 24.5 mm.

Simon Gribelin's responsibility as draughtsman is clear from the fine pen outline technique over lightly ruled pencil, the absence of a scale bar, and the handling of the Corinthian capitals: delicately drawn with vertically delineated acanthus leaves, scroll-like volutes and abacus flowers with trailing tendrils.

The width of the west front in this drawing is 180.5 ft between the outer edges of the pilasters. This compares with 177 ft in the fabric. The extra width in this design arise from the tower bays being nearly 2 ft wider than their 45 ft built dimension between the outer edges of the paired pilasters. The built width of 45 ft dimension first appears on an early half-plan for the west end. On the present drawing the tower bays are blank at both levels. They also have of full-width instead of three-quarter-width pilasters on the inner sides of the paired pilasters at the lower level. In the lower entablature, no breaks are shown above the lower paired pilasters and no outer profiles are drawn. No basement or front steps are drawn.

The giant Corinthian portico was inspired by that of the Great Model. Six enormous columns, 85 ft high and 8 ft in diameter, stand at church-floor level and the entablature contains an inscription panel. Fluting is limited to the outer columns, beneath short sections of architrave which frame the inscription panel in the entablature and appears to have been intended to give emphasis to the ends of the portico. The fluting itself is characteristic of the Doric rather than the Corinthian order, as the hollows are not separated by fillets.

The console brackets in the upper entablature appear for the first time in this drawing but are grouped in pairs and restricted to the projections above the ends of the elevation. They have a stepped profile not found in alter renderings of this feature.

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  • Title: Study for a two-storey west front with a giant, six-column portico
  • Creator: Simon Gribelin
  • Date Created: 1685
  • Subject Keywords: D132, WRE/3/3/3