Signed and dated
Medium and dimensions
Pencil, pen, grey wash with white heightening on brown washed paper
181 x 154
Antonio Zucchi (attributed to)
One of a set of designs, Adam vol.7/41-44, for four rectangular panels in relief, showing the martial arts, fencing, staves, boxing, wrestling, part of a larger group of pen and wash drawings with heightening, Adam vol.7/21-44, that are all designs for the relief decoration of James Adam's Parliament House scheme of 1762/63. The predominant theme is British history and the figures are dressed in either early seventeenth-century or classical costume. The principal draughtsman was Antonio Zucchi (1726-95), although some of the figure compositions are probably the work of Agostino Scara, of whom James Adam wrote that he '... draws figures full as well as Brunias...' (J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.279). Adam gave great emphasis in his Parliament scheme to the role of decorative sculpture and this probably explains the survival of so much material of this sort. In his unfinished essay on architectural theory of 1762, Adam explained: 'What is meant by outside decoration is sculpture, statues and bas-reliefs, together with foliage, trophies, frets, interlacings and a thousand such ornaments which, if properly applied, give such amazing magnificence and render an ediface so wonderfully interesting...' (Fleming, op.cit., p.317).
The four designs for relief panels in Adam vol.7/41-44 were probably intended for the hall interior of the Parliament scheme, shown in the perspective view in Adam 7/23.
Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation
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