- Published Work: Soane/Baroque/Adam/other architects
Adam's first design for this ceiling (Adam volumes 11/210 and 11/211) does not make use of an Etruscan colour scheme. Clearly the concept of an Etruscan theme came later. Adam took inspiration for his Etruscan rooms from classical urns and vases - repeated in the wares of Josiah Wedgwood, as well as designs by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78) within Diverse maniere d'ardornare i camini (1769), with their linearity, and strings of ornament. According to Stillman, Adam designed at least eight Etruscan rooms in the 1770s and 1780s, but the Etruscan dressing room at Osterley is the most complete survival of them all.
The ceiling in the Etruscan dressing room was executed in accordance with Adam volume 11/212 and survives in situ.
Edward Croft Murray has suggested that the painter of the ceiling, walls and chimney board in the Etruscan dressing room was Pietro Maria Borgnis (1743-1810). This is based on a travel account written by Mrs Lybee-Powys, who recounts that the housekeeper at Osterley had said that the walls were painted by 'Berners'. The decoration was painted on to sheets of paper which were pasted on to canvas and affixed to the walls and ceiling.
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).
Contents of Variant finished drawing and record drawings for a ceiling for the Etruscan dressing room, 1772, drawing 73 as executed (3)
-  Finished drawing for a ceiling for the Etruscan dressing room, 1772
-  Record drawing for a ceiling for the Etruscan dressing room, 1772
-  Record drawing for a ceiling for the Etruscan dressing room, 1772, as executed