Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [23] Design for the opera house, showing the Haymarket (east) entrance, principal staircase, oval ballroom and adjoining assembly room, c1789, unexecuted
top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
image SM Adam volume 28/21

Reference number

SM Adam volume 28/21


[23] Design for the opera house, showing the Haymarket (east) entrance, principal staircase, oval ballroom and adjoining assembly room, c1789, unexecuted


Axial section of the opera house, from east to west, with the east entrance formed with a Tuscan porte cochère, surmounted by an urn. Beyond this there is a Corinthian pilaster screen, and the roof line supports statuary bearing urns. Within, there is a curved staircase with ironwork balusters ornamented with enclosed anthemia. At the first-storey level, there is a landing, set within an apse with a coffered ceiling. There are niches containing statuary, and these are surmounted by a figurative roundel and figurative panels. Beyond this there is a double-doored entrance, with a fan light. Above, at the second-storey level there is an aedicule entrance and steps leading to a room overlooking the ballroom. In the attic storey there is a colonnaded room. The oval ballroom has an arched entrance set with a Tuscan screen, surmounted by a tripod flanked by putti. The entrance is flanked by apses with coffered ceilings, and steps lead down to the centre of the room. There is a surrounding Corinthian colonnade, from which oil lamps are suspended. Above, there is a domed ceiling, articulated by statuary flanking semi-circular arched openings. The ceiling is ornamented with compartments divided by bands of scrolled hearts, and these are ornamented with fans, figurative ovals, and figurative panels. At the lower level there is the servants’ waiting room, with steps leading down to a central stove. The space is lit with Diocletian windows, set within relieving arches. In the west wing there is a room with a central entrance at the ground-storey level. At the first-storey level there is an assembly room, with a central entrance set behind a Tuscan screen, and within a relieving arch. This is flanked by panels ornamented with painted screens, and above this there are figurative panels. In the attic storey there is a room with a fireplace, and beyond this steps lead down to a space overlooking the ballroom


to a scale


Section across the Opera House shewing the Principle Staircases from the Haymarket, the Oval Ball Room the Assembly Room adjoining with the Servants Room under the Ball Room (in the hand of William Adam, underwritten in pencil)

Signed and dated

  • c1789

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, wash and coloured washes on laid paper including pink and Naples yellow on laid paper (787 x 521)


Office hand, possibly Robert Morison or Daniel Robertson, with title inscription in the hand of William Adam


Opera House Haymarket / 5 / section (cut) / 71’ 6


fleur-de-lis within a crowned cartouche


Bolton, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 40
Sheppard, 1960, Volume XXIX, (i), p. 249
For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



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).