Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Preliminary design for hanging lanterns for the staircase, c1768-79, executed with alterations (1)

Browse

top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
Image Not Yet Available

Purpose

Preliminary design for hanging lanterns for the staircase, c1768-79, executed with alterations (1)

Notes

When Adam was commissioned to design a new ceiling for the great staircase in 1768 - to accommodate Rubens' Glorification of the Duke of Buckingham - new ironwork balusters and three hanging lanterns were also installed.

The stone staircase is set within a stucco-decorated well, extending from the ground storey, through the principal storey, and beyond to the bedchamber storey. The baluster is painted light blue and ornamented with anthemia motifs, and was made by Thomas Tilson. Adam's drawing for the baluster does not survive, but Harris has suggested that it is contemporary with Adam's identical baluster at Kenwood, made in 1769. The handrail is mahogany, and carved along the side with Vitruvian scroll to match the walls and ceiling.

There is also a set of two pedestals supporting lamps - one in the staircase, and the other in the north passage - which are attributed to Adam on stylistic grounds, but for which there are no surviving drawings.

In c1765-66, the landings of the stairwell were screened on the principal storey with Corinthian columns, and on the bedchamber storey with Ionic columns. Adam's three lanterns hang between the Corinthian columns on the principal storey, and they survive in situ.

The executed lanterns differ from Adam's drawing in their ornamentation, for example, the executed lanterns do not include ram heads. They are thought to have been executed by Matthew Boulton, at his Soho factory in Birmingham in 1772. Boulton was the leading English maker of high quality decorative metalwork at the time.

The design for these lanterns is included in a plate in The Works of Robert and James Adam, Volume III, plate ix, albeit mislabelled for Syon.

Level

Drawing

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

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).