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image Adam vol.28/3

Reference number

Adam vol.28/3

Purpose

London: Parliament House (designs for). Unfinished design for a large building composed around a circular hall with octagonal entrance chamber and portico with coupled columns, and with a court on either side with bowed pavilions, behind which are irregular buildings.

Aspect

Plan

Scale

scale - 1" to 40 ft

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink in a contemporary hand Front towards the River and Plan for The Houses of Lords and Commons; and in pencil is a key to the rooms

Signed and dated

Undated, probably c.1763

Medium and dimensions

Pen495 x 610

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 plan to the river elevation in Adam vol.28/2 and like that drawing is a pricked-through copy. It can be related to the Parliament schemes of both James and Robert Adam although it is unlike the plan for the latter in Adam vol.1/29. It is also clear that this scheme incorporated the existing Westminster Hall as well as the recent work at the Court of Requests, and so differs radically from the James Adam schemes of c.1760 that sought total demolition and complete rebuilding. It may well be that his insistence on having plans of the existing buildings sent to him from London in 1760 encouraged a more conservationist approach to his scheme of 1762/63. It is clear too that before Adam's departure from Rome in May 1763 some plan existed: 'on Seeing the Plan, Examining it apparently with much attention; & hearing a Person Say it shewed great Genius, it shews, Says he, what goes far Beyond in a Building, it shews great good Sense' (D. Stillman, English Neo-classical Architecture, 2 vols., London, 1988, I, pp.56-7). The pencil key to the plan seems to have disappeared, if it was ever made.

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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