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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Italy: Baia: 'Temple of Mercury'. View of part of the interior of the ruined 'Temple of Mercury' , with a single vault and two rectangular windows in the roof, and a series of round-headed niches at the base. At one end is a large doorway flanked by niches.
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image Adam vol.57/19

Reference number

Adam vol.57/19

Purpose

Italy: Baia: 'Temple of Mercury'. View of part of the interior of the ruined 'Temple of Mercury' , with a single vault and two rectangular windows in the roof, and a series of round-headed niches at the base. At one end is a large doorway flanked by niches.

Aspect

Perspective

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink 19

Signed and dated

Undated, probably 1755.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, brown and blue washes; pencil framing line240 x 318, trimmed

Hand

Robert Adam

Verso

Unfinished pencil sketch, probably depicting the Temple of Sybil or Vesta at Tivoli.

Notes

The drawing's pencil framing lines suggest it was a finished composition rather than a sketch; a similar framing line appears in Adam vol.57/22, another drawing of the aqueduct at Tivoli. This is an almost identical view to that in Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.IX after a drawing by Giovanni Battista Natali. The description given for pl.IX makes it clear that the square form became a cylinder, which 'terminava forse in una cupola' [possibly terminated in a cupola] and this is shown in Adam vol.57/16 and 57/21. This view may also be compared with a similar drawing of the interior of the Temple of Mercury by Hubert Robert who visited the site in April 1760, an engraving of which is in Abbé de Saint-Non, Voyage Pittoresque en Sicile et Naples, Paris, 1781-6, vol.I, part 2, opp. p.212 (see C. Denison et al, Exploring Rome: Piranesi and His Contemporaries, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, 1993, p.178). At least two other views of the Temple were made by Clérisseau, a worked-up gouache of which is in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (see Denison, 1993, op. cit., p.157); they may have been made in either 1755 or 1761. Adam's view is the duller version, although it is the more topographically accurate.The fact that this sheet contains drawings of sites in both Rome and Naples appearing on the same piece of paper is indicative of Robert Adam's economical use of paper.

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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