Inscribed in pencil in a contemporary hand Tombeau de Vergile; in ink 16.
Signed and dated
Medium and dimensions
Pen, pencil, grey and brown washes198 x 304
Pencil sketch of profile of an architectural moulding, with dimensions.
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.
Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural,
design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for
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it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance
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