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image Adam vol.57/32

Reference number

Adam vol.57/32


Italy: Pozzuoli: Arco Felice. View of the ruined Arco Felice, which shows the vaulting of an aqueduct above a pathway.




Inscribed in ink 32

Signed and dated

  • Undated, probably 1755.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen, grey and brown washes235 x 271


Robert Adam


This drawing is Robert Adam's version of the Arco Felice; Charles-Louis Clérisseau's version of the same view is found in Adam vol.57/31. The principal differences between the two drawings are in the handling of the superstructure and in the scale of the composition. This is the case with their respective works throughout the Neapolitan tour, where Adam's drawings are both more accurate and and also simplified in their treatment of detail, but duller and somewhat empty in compositional terms. This is very clear if a comparison is made with the drawing of their near contemporary Giovanni Battista Natali (1698-1765) in Paoli, Avanzi Delle Antichita Esistenti a Pozzuoli Cuma e Baja, Naples, 1768, pl.XLV.This view was probably drawn when Adam visited Cuma after 8 April 1755; he wrote from the town that 'there are many temples & other antiquities' (National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Clerk of Penicuik Collection, GD18/4796).



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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