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image Adam vol.26/184

Reference number

Adam vol.26/184

Purpose

Unfinished chimneypiece designs in the antique style showing entablature detail, caryatid in profile supporting a lintel carved with linked female figures above a decorated pilaster jamb with lozenge panel capital; incomplete detail of a Corinthian capital and entablature.

Aspect

Part-elevations, plans, detail

Scale

Scale 1 1/2 inches to 1 foot

Signed and dated

Undated

Medium and dimensions

Pen 460 x 270; torn in parts particularly on right-hand edge, top left corner

Hand

Unidentified eighteenth-century hand, after James Byres

Notes

This is one of two sheets of chimneypiece designs by James Byres (1734-1817) (see Adam vol.26/183), which, like the ceiling designs in Adam vol.26/166, 167, 170, 174 and 176 are probably copies of drawings sent to London, presumably in the 1760s. This sheet is torn at the bottom right where an inscription similar to that in Adam vol.26/183 may have been; the draughtsmanship in the two drawings is identical and the Corinthian capital and lintel silhouette, shown as a detail, is that of the chiimneypiece jamb in 26/183. None of the compositions seems remarkable compared with the Adam designs of that period and are tame when contrasted with those in G. B. Piranesi's Diverse Maniers d'adornare i cammini (Rome, 1769). There are chimneypieces by Byres at Badminton in Gloucestershire, England, and Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, all dated 1773 (see H. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, 3rd edn. London, 1995, p.205).
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).

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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