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image Adam vol.57/6

Reference number

Adam vol.57/6

Purpose

Italy: Grotto di Napoli. View of the entrance to the Grotto di Napoli showing an open underground chamber or grotto with narrow openings, and an early eighteenth-century memorial approached along a narrow passageway through a round-headed opening.

Aspect

Perspective

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink 6

Signed and dated

Undated, probably 1755.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, grey and brown washes214 x 304

Hand

Robert Adam

Notes

This is a standard view of the entrance to the Grotto di Napoli, which provided a road to Pozzuoli. Robert Adam noted that this was '... a road cut by the Romans for near a mile underground, is another of the many thousand convincing proofs of their grandeur'. (J. Fleming, Robert Adam and his Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.154). This drawing can be compared with that shown in Paoli's Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.VI, which also gives its history as well as a plan and section at pl.VII. The Antichita di Pozzuoli drawing is by Giovanni Battista Natali (1698-1765) and was probably made sometime around 1760; it shows very much the scene as Adam saw it. Natali's drawing shows the doorway opposite the memorial left out by Adam in his composition, which was conceived on a smaller scale.

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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