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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


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


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


bar scale of 1 inch to 5 feet


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

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)


Office hand, possibly Robert Morison or Daniel Robertson


Notations, modern curatorial hand




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



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