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Finished drawing for the interior decoration of the library, c1768, probably as executed with alterations (1)


Adam's design is an exercise in the rationalising of an extremely irregular room: it has a plan with a canted bay, three doors and five windows. It cannot be entirely determined whether the design was executed as depicted here, as this is the only record of Adam's interior decoration of the room as a library, having been converted into a dining room a decade later. Many elements however were left untouched by the conversion and survive today, including the door frames and frieze. As executed the stucco medallions depict philosophers, and are painted blue and white to look like Wedgewood. Zucchi painted landscapes overdoors and scenes from classical literature in the ceiling segments; Zuccharelli painted the landscape overmantel. For the conversion of the room, see Adam volumes 20/235 and 20/237.



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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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