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Purpose

Preliminary design, alternative finished drawings, and a drawing made for publication for the Admiralty Screen wall, 1759 (4)

Notes

Adam volume 9/105 shows an early preliminary design for the screen, drawn in Adam's own hand, apparently before he had a clear idea of the final design. Adam volume 51/103 is an alternative design to Adam volume 35/1 which was executed and remains in situ. Adam volume 35/1 was engraved for the elevation of the screen found in the posthumous supplement to the Works in architecture of Robert and James Adam (III: XII).

In Brunias's beautiful perspective drawing of Whitehall (Adam volume 35/4) - attributed to Brunias by Rowan - we can see the top of Thomas Ripley's Admiralty building behind Adam's screen. The sheet has been folded four times, most likely when it was sent for engraving. It was published in February 1761 for sale by Andrew Millar in the Strand for 2s 6d. along with an elevation and plan based on Adam volume 35/1, and it was also engraved for inclusion in the Works in architecture of Robert and James Adam (I:IV:I). The figurative sculptures shown in niches in this drawing - and the engraving - are unlikely to have been executed as they do not appear in any other contemporary view.

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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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Contents of Preliminary design, alternative finished drawings, and a drawing made for publication for the Admiralty Screen wall, 1759 (4)