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Finished drawings including plans and a longitudinal section for the house, c1771, as executed (5)


Harris highlights the imperfection in the overall layout of the house, particularly evident in the first (principal) floor, as it does not allow for a complete circuit of the reception rooms, as was typical of Adam’s town house schemes. The inclusion of a private bedroom and dressing room created an obstacle, which required visitors to the third drawing room to retreat back through the second and first, in order to return to the main stair. Adam, however, makes ingenious use of the asymmetrical plan and the irregular spaces to the eastern side with his design for a grand staircase set within an oval compartment. Adam volume 32/99 shows how the elliptical staircase, complete with its columned screens, adapts the traditional order, with a Corinthian screen for the ground floor, and Ionic and Tuscan screens at first and second. Harris highlights similar breaks from the traditional order in Adam’s designs for the staircases of Culzean Castle (SM Adam 37/03, 37/04), Lansdowne House and Osterley. Adam’s staircase for Apsley was subsequently removed during Wyatt's extensive alterations (1828 - 1830). Significantly Lea notes that the ground floor Corinthian screen is still shown to have been in situ in a survey dating to 1828, and therefore Canova’s statue of Napoleon, presented to the Duke of Wellington in 1817, was originally installed in Adam’s stairwell, not Wyatt’s.



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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.

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 Finished drawings including plans and a longitudinal section for the house, c1771, as executed (5)