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image Adam vol.57/117

Reference number

Adam vol.57/117

Purpose

Capriccio of a ruined circular mausoleum with statues flanking a sarcophagus and urn in a niche. Behind is a ruined two-storied arcaded construction.

Aspect

Perspectiveverso elevation

Inscribed

Inscribed in ink 117

Signed and dated

  • Undated, probably 1755 or 1756.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen; grey, brown and blue washes; pencil framing line165 x 251

Hand

Charles-Louis Clérisseau

Verso

Unfinished pencil sketch of garlands.

Notes

The mausoleum in this drawing derives from that of Cecilia Metella on the Via Appia, Rome. The ruins behind are reminiscent of the Colosseum although there is nothing of that type near the mausoleum. The arcading and vaulted base can also be compared with the Tempio della Tosse near Tivoli, which Piranesi ilustrated in his Vedute di Roma (pl.202). The wall tomb is a typical neo-classical invention of the mid-eighteenth century, as seen in the engravings of Jean-Laurent Le Geay (c.1710-after 1796) (see J. Harris 'Le Geay, Piranesi & International Neo-classicism in Rome 1740-1750' in Essays in the History of Architecture presented to Rudolf Wittkower, Phaidon, London, 1967, pp.189-196.

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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