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image Adam vol.26/165

Reference number

Adam vol.26/165

Purpose

Unfinished record drawing showing alternative details for the decoration of a dome or vault; one has figures beside an altar divided by a vault with grotesque decoration, the other has panels of foliage with rosettes and figures.

Aspect

Ceiling plans

Signed and dated

  • Undated, probably 1760 - 1763

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen 296 x 366

Hand

Giuseppe Manocchi

Notes

Similar panels with foliage and rosettes can be seen in drawings by Charles-Louis Clérisseau (1721-1820) for the wall decoration of his museum for Catherine II (see Charles-Louis Clérisseau (1721-1820) Dessins du musée de l'Ermitage Saint-Petersbourg, catalogue of exhibition at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1995, p.157). Both alternative designs in this drawing may be compared with the scaled-down copies after ceiling designs by James Byres (1734-1817) (see Adam vol.26/167 and 174); the draughtsmanship here and in the two after Byres is close, and can be compared with that in the drawings in Adam vol.26/31 and 32, also attributed by Giuseppe Manocchi.
James Byres turned from painting to architecture c.1758 while in Rome, and in 1762 he won a prize in the Concorso Clementino. At that time he was known to James Adam's circle (see Fleming Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.378.). There is an album of finished ceiling designs attributed to Byres in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, USA (see J. Harris, Catalogue of British Drawings for Architecture, Decoration, Sculpture and Landscape Gardening 1550-1900 in American Collections, New Jersey, 1971, p.41).

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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