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Finished drawing for a chimneypiece, c1780-88, unexecuted (1)


This drawing has been attributed to Cumberland House as it makes use of the fern, rose, lion and unicorn motifs, as do many of Adam's designs for the Duke of Cumberland, most notably a console table for the music room (Adam volumes 17/56 and 49/28). When making designs for patrons from the royal family, it was customary for Adam to use royal insignia such as these, but it is the specific combination seen here that is found in other designs for Cumberland.

This chimneypiece is too small for a principal reception room, such as the music room, and it is likely that it was designed for a lesser, unknown room. The only rooms at Cumberland House in which Adam is known to have carried out any interior decoration were the great dining room and the music room, and therefore, it is unlikely that this design was executed.



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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 Finished drawing for a chimneypiece, c1780-88, unexecuted (1)