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image Adam vol.57/16

Reference number

Adam vol.57/16

Purpose

Italy: Mergellina: 'Virgil's tomb'. View of the so-called tomb of Virgil in its landscape setting outside Naples, with Posillipo in the distance.

Aspect

Perspectiveverso sketches of arcitectural details

Inscribed

Inscribed in pencil in a contemporary hand Tombeau de Vergile; in ink 16.

Signed and dated

Undated, probably 1755.

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, grey and brown washes198 x 304

Hand

Charles-Louis Clérisseau

Verso

Pencil sketch of profile of an architectural moulding, with dimensions.

Notes

Virgil's ashes were placed in a tomb outside Naples on the Via Pluteolana, originally between the first and second milestones. The tomb subsequently disappeared and in 1554 the following inscription was placed there: 'Qui cineres? tumuli haec vestigia: conditur olim/ Ille hic qui cecinit pascua, rura, duces'. Robert Adam's drawing in Adam vol.57/21 is taken from the same spot as this drawing by Charles-Louis Clérisseau but lacks the depth given by the latter's introduction of the distant view over Posillipo; there are also adjustments of scale and detail. In Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.X shows a plan and interior view of the tomb by Natali that is contemporary with this drawing and that in Adam vol.57/21, which serves to show the various adjustments made by both Clérisseau and Adam where they have strengthened the architectural form of the mausoleum. In April 1755 Adam noted that 'It [the tomb] is now almost quite ruinous and is only beautiful from its antiquity', which may explain his architectural adjustments (National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Clerk of Penicuik Collection, GD18/4769). A print of a similar view by Domenico Cunego after Clérisseau was issued in London in 1766.

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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