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image Adam vol.28/2

Reference number

Adam vol.28/2

Purpose

London: Parliament House (designs for). Design for a large building composed as a main block with a portico, with quadriga of three-bay coupled columns with sculpture in niches on either side of the door, a cupola on drum above and three pantheon domes, all linked by a seven-bay colonnade to domed and bowed pavilions at either end.

Aspect

Elevation

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink in a contemporary hand Design for the Houses of Lords and Commons

Signed and dated

Undated, probably c.1763

Medium and dimensions

Pen, grey wash467 x 1102, two joined sheets

Hand

James Adam Office

Watermark

CM P1.

Notes

In the opinion of A. A. Tait, this drawing relates in time and place or subject to those contained in Adam volume 7.This is the river elevation to the plan in Adam vol.28/3 and both can be closely connected with James Adam's Parliament Scheme of 1762/3 in Adam volume 7 and with Robert Adam's design of c.1770 in Adam volume 10. The drawing is a pricked-through copy, possibly of a version of the elevation that James Adam had produced in Rome in 1763. In March of that year, it was described by Charles Natoire as: 'his Plan for a Parliament House is Still improving, creates admiration', and an elevation as showing that 'the true Spirit of Antiquity had guided the Architect, as well as in the Building itself, as in the contrivance of every Ornament for it' (see D. Stillman, English Neo-classical Architecture, 2 vols., London, 1988, I, p.56). In May 1763, Adam left for England and Florence, perhaps with the plan and elevations of the design still incomplete. Although this drawing follows several of the details found in volume 7 - such as the quadriga, the balustrade trophies, door and pediment decoration - the composition of the entrance portico does not, through its use of coupled columns. The relief sculpture in the central pediment is based on the drawing by Antonio Zucchi (1726-95) in Adam vol.7/23. Apart from the portico, the drawing matches in composition the later perspective by Robert Adam in Adam vol.1/28, which it probably inspired (see A. A. Tait, Robert Adam: drawings and imagination, Cambridge, 1993, p.56).

Literature

Repr. A. A. Tait, Robert Adam: drawings and imagination, Cambridge, 1993, fig.52C. Riding etc., The Houses of Parliament, London, 2000, p.106

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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