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image Adam vol.26/174

Reference number

Adam vol.26/174

Purpose

Unfinished ceiling design showing four compartments, one of which has square decoration around an empty central oval, below is grotesque decoration and a semi-circular panel containing a landscape; beside this is a square compartment with figures at altars.

Aspect

Ceiling plan

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink in a contemporary hand From Mr: Buiers at Rome

Signed and dated

Undated, but may date from after Robert Adam's return from Italy

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen 440 x 563

Hand

Giuseppe Manocch, after James Byres

Notes

This is a larger version of part of the drawing in Adam vol.26/165; rather than the lunette form shown in that drawing, the composition here is for a rectangular ceiling around a central oval. Like other such drawings after James Byres (1734-1817), it is likely to be a copy made in London. The inscription relating to James Byres (1734-1817) appears in the same hand on other designs, Adam vol.26/166, 167, 170 and 176 and it would suggest that they were inscribed in London. All are unfinished and may well be copies, probably by Giuseppe Manocchi (1731-82), after the complete originals. 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 J. 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).
There is also a more finished version of this composition by Manocchi, dated 1769 and annotated Sofitto de Vaticano, in the Royal Collection, Windsor (BM283; RL11603).

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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