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image Adam vol.7/195

Reference number

Adam vol.7/195

Purpose

London: Parliament House (designs for). Unfinished design for a doorhead showing a decorated console supporting a stepped, decorated cornice. Below is foliage and a lion beside an attenuated urn.

Aspect

Elevation

Signed and dated

  • Undated, probably 1762-63

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil 228 x 269

Hand

James Adam, Office of

Notes

This is a variation of part of the doorway shown in Adam vol.7/174, and is associated with both Robert Adam's The Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro (1764) and its adaptation to James Adam's Parliament House scheme of 1762/63. The decoration of the doorhead is similar to that noted as from the Temple of Aesculapius in Adam vol.7/174.
The door to the Temple of Aesculapius was engraved by Antonio Zucchi (1726-95) for The Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro, in pl.XLV, with a larger detail of the doorhead as pl.XLVI. The decoration shown in Adam vol.7/174 is considerably more delicate and refined than the original although Robert Adam observed that 'if we abstract from the Defect of the angular Modillions in this Door, some of the other Parts of it are very fine. It may indeed by objected with Reason, that it is too much ornamented for an Outside Door . . . the particular Enrichments of this Door are so finely executed, that they afforded the highest Satisfaction' (The Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro). Zucchi was working on these details with James Adam in Venice in the summer of 1760. The introduction of the royal arms suggests that this was part of James Adam's Parliament House scheme of 1762/3.

Level

Drawing

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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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