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image Adam vol.7/109

Reference number

Adam vol.7/109

Purpose

Design for a fountain showing a base of banded masonary with three niches with sculpture above a heavily decorated basin and support, surmounted by a female figure with the attributes of Neptune. Above are details of an urn with a jet and an unfinished sketch of a basin.

Aspect

Plan, elevations and details

Scale

2 scales 7/8 inch to 5 ft and 1 1/8 inches to 5 ft

Signed and dated

Undated, probably 1760s

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen, grey wash 283 x 423

Hand

James Adam, Office of

Notes

This fountain design is sixteenth-century in style and can be compared with the fountains of Ammanati in the gardens of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy which James Adam saw in 1760. There is a pencil sketch for this design in Adam vol.7/210 and a similar urn detail in Adam vol.7/108, which suggests the drawings may have been made at around the same time. There is no immediate connection between either design and James Adam's Parliament House scheme of 1762/63, although fountains were both intended and designed (see J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.305).
Robert Adam admired and made drawings of the sixteenth-century fountains at the Villa Lante, Bagnaia (see Clerk Collection, Scotland, Clerk 174-6 and Fleming, op.cit., p.232). James Adam described the fountain in the Villa Petraia in Florence as 'fanciful', although 'Clérisseau made a sketch of it' (see J. Swarbrick, Robert Adam & His Brothers, London, 1915, p.125).

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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