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image Adam vol.7/163

Reference number

Adam vol.7/163

Purpose

London: Parliament House (designs for). Design for the capital of a Scottish Order composed of entwined thistles on top with a mantling of acanthus leaves above a fluted column.

Aspect

Detail

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink in a contemporary hand Chapiteau Ecossais and J. A. Inv.t 1761[or 4]

Signed and dated

1761 or 4

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil 136 x 140

Hand

James Adam (attributed to)

Verso

Various calculations in pen in a contemporary hand.

Watermark

crowned G.R.

Notes

Although the capital design is dated 1761 or 1764, it is undoubtedly the counterpart to James Adam's British Order (see Adam vol.7/69), and like that one was intended to decorate his Parliament House scheme of 1762/63. He wrote in 1762: 'I have taken care that North Britain shall bear its own share in all decorations - so that I will venture to say that posterity would even guess at the architect's being from beyond the Tweed' (J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.305). The inscription and date are closer to Robert Adam's than James's hand, and the date appears to have been altered from 1764 to 1761. There is a later version of this capital in Adam vol.52/25 among a series of capitals for pilasters and columns (see particularly Adam vol.52/10-13). This Scottish theme can be found again in Robert Adam's pen sketch for a 'Hebrurian freize' of 1775 (see Adam vol.52/6).

Literature

Repr. A. A. Tait, Robert Adam, The Creative Mind: from the sketch to the finished drawing, catalogue of an exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 1996, p.26

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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