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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Italy: Rome, Villa Albani. Unfinished record drawing for a semi-circular doorhead showing classical trophies surrounded partly by Egg-and-dart decoration, with an aquatic winged monster and dolphin in theh spandrel.
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image Adam vol.26/46

Reference number

Adam vol.26/46

Purpose

Italy: Rome, Villa Albani. Unfinished record drawing for a semi-circular doorhead showing classical trophies surrounded partly by Egg-and-dart decoration, with an aquatic winged monster and dolphin in theh spandrel.

Aspect

Elevation

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink in a contemporary hand Villa Albani

Signed and dated

Undated, probably 1760 - 63

Medium and dimensions

Black chalk 314 x 490

Hand

Nicolas-François-David Lhuiller (attributed to)

Watermark

name

Notes

This drawing is an unfinished detail of the side door of the salon of the Villa Albani, designed by architect Carlo Marchionni (1702-86). The salon decoration was finished in November 1761. There are several designs for this doorway in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York (see 1938-88-486), which show the work to be by Marchionni in the antique style, incorporating fragments from the Albani collection. The antique source was shown in volume VI of Caylus, Recuil d'Antiquités, Paris, 1762. For James Adam's acquisition of the Albani collection of drawings in May 1762 see J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome (London, 1962, pp.297-8); the collection remained with Adam at the Casa Guarnieri for two months before its dispatch to London (see Fleming, op. cit., p.298). In the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, there is a larger variant of this drawing in red and black chalk in a similar hand (1966.11:35) (see C. Denison, Exploring Rome: Piranesi and His Contemporaries, Cambridge Massachusetts and London, 1993, p.47). This and comparable chalk drawings of classical subjects are attributed to the Piranesi circle and possibly from 'a unit directly from the artist's studio and preserved by a member of the family or by an early collector' (see F. Stampfle, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 1978, p.ix). It is noted there that these 'drawings of details are conceivably of the character that might have been left to assistants for execution' and that Piranesi (like Adam) 'employed young artists for the rendering of tedious details'; this may have included Nicolas-François-David Lhuiller (d.1793).

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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