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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [10] Finished drawing for the Opera House, showing a longitudinal section from south to north, c1789, unexecuted
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image SM Adam volume 47/3

Reference number

SM Adam volume 47/3

Purpose

[10] Finished drawing for the Opera House, showing a longitudinal section from south to north, c1789, unexecuted

Aspect

Longitudinal south/north section of the opera house. At the south end there is a Tuscan portico with an entrance set within a relieving arch ornamented with octagonal coffers. Beyond this there is a rotunda, surmounted with a stepped, coffered dome with an oculus. The ceiling is ornamented with the royal coat of arms, with a band of fluting behind and with swags above. The rotunda contains a chimneypiece, with capitals containing paterae, a frieze of fluting and a central tablet. Above this there is a panel ornamented with an embossed shield, encircled by trophies, and a rectangular tablet containing a patera enclosed by a band of flint-lock pistols and trophies. To the north of the rotunda, stairs lead to a Tuscan colonnade linking to the auditorium, opening on to the rear of the stage. The stage is shown with a Corinthian colonnaded wing, with a frieze of festoons and paterae, beyond this a doorway leads to the west wing. To the north of the stage the auditorium is shown with a raked pit, and there are four tiers of boxes, as SM Adam volume 47/6. The ceiling coving is ornamented with semi-circular panels enclosing flora alternating with panels depicting urns and festoons. To far the north of the auditorium, there is shallow ribbed dome. Beyond the auditorium a Tuscan colonnade leads to the oval ballroom, as SM Adam volume 47/7. To the north of the ballroom a bridge is shown with a central segmental arch, flanked by two narrower part-rusticated arches. Above there is a link building with a balustraded window with a Tuscan colonnade. Beyond this there is the annexe building, with a hipped roof. Within there is a dog-leg staircase with a ground-storey newel supporting a lantern. Above the stairwell there are suspended lanterns ornamented with herms, and at first-storey level there is a Tuscan colonnade with doorways beyond

Scale

bar scale of 1 inch to 5 feet

Inscribed

General Section through the Opera House from South to North, representing the proposed entry from Pall Mall, the Stage, the Pitt & Boxes, with the two Gallerys. / Also shewing the Lobby between the Theatre & the Oval Ballroom, & servants waiting room under it and an Archway intended to peirce a Communication between, Charles Street, St James’s Square & the Hay Market, on the north side of which new street of communication, a Spacious Tavern for the use of the Subscribers & Frequentors of the Opera. May be introduced & rendered both profitable & useful to the undertakers, / In the centre of this building is shewn a handsome staircase for the use of Their Majesties & the Royal family when they go either in coaches or chairs through St James’s Square to the Opera. / No 3

Signed and dated

  • c1789
    c1789

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, wash and coloured washes including Naples yellow, Indian yellow, pink and verdigris, within a single ruled border on laid paper (1977 x 586)

Hand

Possibly
Office hand, possibly Robert Morison or Daniel Robertson

Verso

Notations, modern curatorial hand

Watermark

PVL

Literature

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

Level

Drawing

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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