- Robert and James Adam office drawings
Adam sent his first designs for the saloon – a set of laid out wall elevations – to Nostell in November 1767. At the same time, he sent a working drawing for the frieze which does not survive. John Austin, the Adam office clerk, sent drawings for the ceiling and frieze in May 1770. Austin also sent drawings for the niche head, pilaster capitals, niche scree soffit, and a mirror frame in December 1770.
Paine had also intended to use this room as the saloon, and had installed a coved ceiling, but Adam redesigned this cove, even insisting that it be removed and rebuilt again in 1770 when his craftsmen had built it to the wrong depth.
Joseph Rose (junior) began work on the saloon ceiling in 1770, charging a total of £328.8s for his work in the room. His ceiling was painted in 1773, and survives in situ. In addition to this, and also surviving, are Antonio Zucchi’s overdoor medallions and ruinscapes which arrived at Nostell in August 1776, and Sefferin Nelson’s curtain cornices, which are thought to have been designed by Adam but for which no drawings survive.
Further to the drawings at the Soane Museum, there are several other Adam office drawings for the saloon in other collections. In the National Trust drawings collection at Nostell Priory there are two alternative unexecuted laid out wall elevations of 1767-68, one of which shows the room as executed; a record drawing showing the executed design for the ceiling, and corresponding with Adam volume 11/227; and a design of 17 March 1768 for the various mouldings in the room, some as executed. In the private drawings collection of Lord St Oswald there is an unexecuted alternative design for the ceiling which duplicates the design shown in Adam volumes 8/77 and 11/228; a finished drawing showing the executed design for the ceiling, and corresponding with Adam volume 11/227; Antonio Zucchi’s cartoons for the medallions; and a design for a pier glass frame of c1770.
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 Preliminary design and alternative record drawings for a ceiling for the saloon, 1767, Adam volume 11/227 as executed (3)
-  Preliminary design for a ceiling for the saloon, c1767, unexecuted
-  Record drawing for a ceiling for the saloon, 1770, unexecuted
-  Record drawing for a ceiling for the saloon, 1767, as executed