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image SM Adam volume 28/25

Reference number

SM Adam volume 28/25


[28] Alternative design for the Haymarket (east) front of the opera house, c1789, unexecuted


Elevation of a seventeen-bay, two-and-a-half-storey building as SM Adam volume 1/62


bar scale of 1 inch to 10 feet


Another Design for the Opera House (in the hand of William Adam) / faint pencil inscription right centre and some dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • c1789

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil and wash on laid paper (580 x 459)


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


5 (brown ink) / opera house / 6 / These go in with the ____ (modern curatorial hand)




Bolton suggests that this design may be incorrectly inscribed, and alternatively may form part of a scheme for Parliament House, Edinburgh. There are similarities in the designs, but the use of the Royal Coat of Arms and musical motifs suggest that it does in fact form part of the opera house scheme. This is further indicated by the seventeen-bay formation used, as Iain Gordon Brown highlights, the design for Parliament House is for a thirteen-bay building, and surmounted by the City of Edinburgh Coat of Arms.

This elevation varies from the plan designs SM Adam volumes 28/23-24.


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

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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.

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