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Purpose

Finished drawing for a commode, possibly for the saloon, 1771, unexecuted (1)

Notes

According to Harris the ornamentation on this commode comprises 'Adam's first full scale use of painted grotesque as furniture decoration.' It makes use of Adam's earlier style, with relatively large-scale ornament, and further to this, the rectangular shaped commode was later abandoned by Adam in favour of the more elegant segmental and semi-circular arrangements.

This commode design may have been intended for the saloon. The heavy use of the colour pink and gilding correspond with other designs for the room (Adam volumes 12/86 and 50/54). Moreover, the use of a relatively large-scale anthemion motif corresponds with that in the cove for the saloon (Adam volumes 12/86 and 50/54), and the use of paired sphinxes flanking an urn corresponds with the overdoors (Adam volume 50/54).

None of Adam's designs for Colebrooke are known to have been completed owing to his financial difficulties. See scheme notes.

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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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