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  • image SM Adam volume 49/6

Reference number

SM Adam volume 49/6


[44] Design for a pilaster for the great drawing room, c1779, as executed


Elevation of an ornamental pilaster, with a central painted panel flanked by bands of beading, thyrsi, and lozenges enclosing arabesques and anthemia. The central panel is ornamented with a pedestal embellished with festoons suspending a pendent oil lamp, rosettes and ram masks, and this is surmounted by an urn. Above this, bands of calyx enclose an anthemion bearing a fountain ornamented with gadrooning and beading, and a cameo, depicting winged sphinxes, enclosed by arabesques. This is surmounted by a further cameo, depicting a draped figure, and a rosette, both enclosed within a figure-of-eight wreath of oak leaves. Above this a tubular flower supports further wreaths enclosing anthemia, and a roundel depicting winged putti. This is surmounted by an urn, ornamented with gadrooning, flanked by beading with suspended peltoid shields, and surmounted by arabesques, a tubular flower, and a draped figure bearing urns. Above this there are further arabesques and tubular flowers bearing an oil lamp which is ornamented with ram masks and swags and surmounted by an urn bearing drop calyx. Above this there are calyx, arabesques and anthemia, a rosette enclosed within a foil roundel, and a tubular flower surmounted by a tablet containing a rosette, enclosed within a lozenge, flanked by arabesques. The tablet has an apron of beading, suspending rosettes, and is surmounted by anthemia, arabesques and an Etruscan urn ornamented with draped figures


full size


Design of a Pilaster for Sir Abraham Hume (in the hand of William Adam, underwritten in pencil) / painting (pencil)

Signed and dated

  • c1779

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil and coloured washes on laid paper including pink, sepia, verdigris, Indian yellow and cerulean blue on laid paper (312 x 3354)


Office hand, possibly Joseph Bonomi or Robert Morison


Sir Abraham Hume / preliminary plan (pencil)


GR surmounted by a fleur-de-lis within a crowned cartouche, JWHATMAN


Bolton, 1917, p. 6
Bolton, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 41
King, 2001, Volume I, pp. 24, 304
For a full list of literature references see scheme notes.



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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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