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Finished drawing for a chimneypiece for the library, 1766, executed with minor alterations (1)

Notes

The library chimneypiece was executed with minor alterations to this design, with a slightly different tablet. The tablet was executed by William Collins in 1767, and the remains of the chimneypiece were carved by John Devall, who charged £41.14s.6d in July 1767. The chimneypiece survives in situ.

There is a variant Adam office design for the chimneypiece, dated 1766, in the private collection of Lord St Oswald. This gives the same design, but without sphinxes in the tablet. There are four Adam office working drawings for different parts of the library chimneypieces, all datable to 1766, within the National Trust drawings collection at Nostell. There is a fifth working drawing for the overmantel frame, in Robert Adam’s own hand and dated 23 May 1767, within the family archive at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield.

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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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