Signed and dated
Medium and dimensions
Pencil, pen, grey wash
533 x 405
James Adam (attributed to)
Two unfinished pencil drawings showing perspective diagrams.
The plan for the baldacchino shown here in elevation is shown in Adam vol.7/68 and both were intended for James Adam's Parliament House scheme of 1762/63. The inspiration for his design lay in examples found in numerous Roman churches, of which the baroque baldacchino for St Peter's by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was the most notable, and that for Santa Maria Maggiore of c.1743 by Ferdinando Fuga (1699-1782) the most contemporary. The conservative composition here makes a striking contrast with the baldacchino proposed by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) for San Giovanni in Laterano of 1763/4, which James Adam knew (see J. Wilton-Ely, Piranesi as Architect and Designer, London, 1993, p.80, pls.78-9). Adam's baldacchino sheltered a throne rather than an altar, as is shown in the pencil sketch in Adam vol.7/202 verso.
Repr. J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, pl.91.
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