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Alternative preliminary design and finished drawings for an overmantel chimneypiece for the front drawing room, 1770-71 (3)

Notes

It is not known if one of Adam's designs for the front drawing room overmantel was executed. There is no evidence of this except for the inclusion of a 'noble' chimney glass in the 1860 inventory of the house.

Harris has called the first design a 'precursor of the overmantel mirror designed two years later for the Glass Drawing Room at Northumberland House', being more like a wall ornament than a mirror frame. The second design, she has noted, comprises Adam's first known use of seated female figures on top of a frame - a device which Adam later used regularly, including on the pier glass in the Etruscan dressing room at Osterley.

Within the National Trust drawing collection at Osterley Park there are designs for a console table and pier glass, and for a girandole for the front drawing room. Both designs were executed in pairs in c1765-70, probably by John Linnell. The console tables and pier glasses were sold at Christies on 23 May 2012.

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Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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 Alternative preliminary design and finished drawings for an overmantel chimneypiece for the front drawing room, 1770-71 (3)